Name: E/C House
Area: 214 sq. meters
Location: São Miguel Arcanjo, São Roque do Pico, Pico Island, Azores, Portugal
Architecture: SAMI-arquitectos / Inês Vieira da Silva and Miguel Vieira
Team : Bruna Silva, João do Vale Martins, Rita Maria Pinto. Trainee: Daniel Mentech
Structural Engineering: Eng. Ricardo Ferro Antunes, Eng. Francisco Mendonça Santos
Water and Sanitation: Eng. Paulo Jorge Almeida Oliveira
Electrical Engineering: Eng. Hugo Mendonça
Construction Company: José Artur Cruz Leal – Unipessoal, Lda
Furniture: SAMI with Loja Nord
Portuguese architecture firm SAMI-arquitectos has designed the E/C House, a holiday house on the volcanic island of Pico in the Azores, Portugal. Overlooking the Atlantic, the house spans two levels and occupies the ruin of a former house. But what is particularly interesting with this specific project, is the way the architects have treated the remains of the older house: rather than ‘renovating’ the site, or incorporating the old walls in a decorative way, instead they decided to create a spatial choreography between the old and the new, and place the new house inside the old one, reminiscent of how Matryoshka dolls are placed with one another.
With the old stone walls left intact, the new concrete house seems to emerge mysteriously like a spectre of the old one, a gesture that can also be read as a metaphor of regeneration and regrowth, with the whole concept bringing to mind how a young tree sprouts from the roots of an old tree that has fallen. As the E/C House’s openings are not always aligned with the old doors and windows, an interesting dialogue is created between the interior, the old stone walls and the view outside. Designed mainly as a dwelling with which to rest and contemplate, the house is minimally furnished, with each space treated as a ‘deck’ that opens generously to the outside and can accommodate multiple uses. An innovative and well-thought project indeed, the E/C House has quite deservedly been nominated for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2015.