The warmth of a “brutalist” hearth in Porto

A pavilion-house built to complete a historic building interprets the values of intimate and cosy living with a material and essential language.

In the centre of Porto, Bak Gordon has built a house as a detached pavilion to complete the space of a 19th century building.

The building, located at the far end of the property’s garden, facing a large pool of water that acts as a mirror, is characterised by a sober, minimalist language that suggests brutalism in its bare geometries and the roughness of its materials.

Ricardo Bak Gordon, House 2, Oporto 2021. Photo Francisco Nogueira
Ricardo Bak Gordon, House 2, Oporto, 2021. Photo Francisco Nogueira

The epicentre of the irregular geometric layout is the large west-facing common area, a double-height glazed winter garden which also acts as a filter between the outdoor green area and the intimacy of the sleeping area. The ground floor houses, in addition to the full-length living room, the kitchen, library and two trapezoidal bedrooms with adjacent bathrooms, which are similarly repeated on the first floor.

The choice of untreated materials gives the house a warm, welcoming aura. The massive outer volume of pink pigmented cement, interrupted by glass windows with oxidised brass frames, acts as a protective and enveloping shell for the interiors, dominated by “bare” materials: exposed concrete in the floors and ceilings, wood in the cupboards, tadelakt – a full-bodied plaster of Moroccan origin made from lime – on the walls, and “Venetian terrazzo” in the custom-made bathroom elements. To accentuate the soft, earthy look of the interiors, a colour palette of browns and beiges paints the surfaces and furnishings.

Ricardo Bak Gordon, House 2, Oporto 2021. Photo Francisco Nogueira
Ricardo Bak Gordon, House 2, Oporto, 2021. Photo Francisco Nogueira

A piece of architecture that draws on a design and construction culture based on materiality and essentiality, as if to signify that a domestic hearth needs only a few authentic gestures to warm it up.

House 2
Architectural project:
Ricardo Bak Gordon
Architecture coordination:
Daniela Cunha
Catarina Farinha, Tânia Correia
Matriz LDA – Sociedade de Construções
Supervision and project management:
Atelier BBV (Landscape architecture); A400 – Projetistas e Consultores de Engenharia, LDA (Foundations and Structure, Hydraulics, Gas Installations, Electrics, Telecommunications, Security, Mechanics and HVAC, Acoustics, Thermic)

Latest on Architecture

Latest on Domus

Read more
China Germany India Mexico, Central America and Caribbean Sri Lanka Korea icon-camera close icon-comments icon-down-sm icon-download icon-facebook icon-heart icon-heart icon-next-sm icon-next icon-pinterest icon-play icon-plus icon-prev-sm icon-prev Search icon-twitter icon-views icon-instagram