Continuing a series of reviews on recently announced Mies van der Rohe nominees, today we will visit SAMI Arquitectos’ E/C House, situated in Pico, an island in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. Pico belongs to a group of volcanic islands far west of Portugal.
E/C House involved creating a holiday home for a couple based in Coimbra. The architects sought to construct a building designed around an existing ruin – formerly a house with a living space at the top and an area for animals below.
The architects added large windows to every room to ensure that plenty of light penetrates the double-layered exterior walls. The split-level ground floor, which once would have been used for housing livestock, now accommodates four bedrooms featuring timber-lined walls and built-in storage. A combined kitchen and dining room occupy the rest of this floor. Wooden closets offer storage at one end of the space, while sliding glass doors open the space out to three different terraces – one behind the stone and two that are exposed to the landscape.
The commission for E/C House came in 2005, although it wasn’t completed until eight years later.
From the architect. A ruin was the starting point for the design of a holiday house in the island of Pico. The project came from the will to maintain a ruin and thinking of a house that would value it, a house that could be modelled to it and take advantage at the same time, offering the most diverse and complex possibilities of living than the former typology.
Since the building is approached at the level of the covering, because of the slope of the land, we designed all the covering of the project as if they were decks, allowing to be used as sitting places or for contemplation.
The house, modelled inside the walls of stone, was designed with generous openings, for light to come inside and to contemplation of the landscape. These openings are sometimes lined up, and sometimes not, with the former openings of the ruin, creating new frames and relations with the original limits of the house.
The project is a movement between a limit line, in stone, and the intervention volumes that are led by that same line, but sometimes flow independently or extend, whenever the necessity of space or of a view is needed.
Architects: SAMI Arquitectos – Inês Vieira da Silva, Miguel Vieira
Team: Bruna Silva, João do Vale Martins, Andreia Luís, Inês Martins, Rita Maria Pinto
Trainee: Daniel Mentech
Structural Engineering: Ricardo Ferro Antunes, Francisco Mendonça Santos
Water and Sanitation: Paulo Jorge Almeida Oliveira
Electrical Engineering: Hugo Mendonça
Construction Company: José Artur Cruz Leal – Unipessoal, Lda
Furniture: SAMI with Loja Nord