E_C House on Pico Island, Portugal by SAMI-arquitectos_09_10
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E/C House on Pico Island, Portugal by SAMI-arquitectos


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Name: E/C House
Type: Residential
Area: 214 sq. meters
Location: São Miguel Arcanjo, São Roque do Pico, Pico Island, Azores, Portugal
Completed: 2014
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.


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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.


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