The modernization of the cottage, part of a farmstead, was largely confined to the interior
JS House, in a rural setting not far from the Portuguese port city of Porto, is a gem: once used as a place to process and store crops from the fields, it has since become a weekend home for tourists. Porto-based architecture studio Pedro Mosca & Pedro Gonçalves (PMPG) had undertaken the transformation. “Intervention“ is what they call their work, which follows their principles of building with respect for the environment and the history of the place.
The house, or rather the cottage, is part of a farmstead. One looks from there on a bend of the river Douro and far over the intensively used landscape.
The small footprint was sufficient for kitchen and living room on the ground floor, on the 1st floor are bathroom and bedroom. Instead of the former ladder to the upper floor, there is now a staircase inside and likewise outside. When we asked about a railing for the exterior stairs, the response from the architects was that the builder didn’t want one and that the stairs were probably rarely used.
With the few new additions, the cottage has taken on a very special charm. During the modernization, all the openings in the walls remained the old ones, but new windows and doors, respectively, were inserted. Their color is a striking red, whose hue changes with the incidence of light.
Hidden behind a stone covering are the renewed window lintels, where the old wood was replaced with steel.
A charming touch: the grates in front of the doors and windows. Formerly they kept the animals out of the interior spaces on the ground floor. Now, on the upper floor, they serve to let the children play without supervision.
The shutters are also new and in a modern design.
The cottage has its distinctive image due to the ancient building material: the walls are made of coarse slate. The corners of the building and the jambs of windows and doors are reinforced with granite ashlars.
The courtyard is covered with large slate slabs.
A particular ornament is the “Espigueiro,“ a raccard on stone feet at the edge of the courtyard. Such buildings, some of them made entirely of stone, are known in many countries as granaries. Here they were formerly for drying: Since corn is harvested only in the fall, it must get rid of its moisture in the winter under difficult conditions. For this purpose, the walls of the espigueiros bear air slits.
Pedro Mosca & Pedro Gonçalves Arquitectos
Photos: José Campos
(27.02.2023, USA: 02.27.2023)