The Three Cusps Chalet by Tiago do Vale Architects

The 3 Cusps Chalet is a personal residence designed by Tiago do Vale Architects.

It is positioned in Sé, Braga, Portugal.

The 3 Cusps Chalet by Tiago do Vale Architects:


In the 2nd half of the 19th century Portugal noticed the return of a massive amount of emigrants from Brazil. Although returning to their northern roots, specially in the Douro and Minho areas, they brought with them sizable fortunes created in trade and business, born of the economic boom and cultural melting pot of the 19th century Brazil. With them came a culture and cosmopolitanism that was fairly unheard of in the Portugal of the eighteen-hundreds.

That blend of Brazilian capital and taste sprinkled the cities of northern Portugal with examples of wealthy, high quality architecture, that was singular in its urban context and regularly informed by the best that was getting completed in both Europe and Brazil.

Constructed CONTEXT

The “3 Cusps Chalet” is a clear example of the Brazilian influence in excess of Portuguese architecture in the course of the 19th century, however it is also a singular case in this specific context.

Correct as the Dom Frei Caetano Brandão Street was opened, a tiny palace was becoming developed in the corner with the Cathedral’s square and thanks to large quantities of Brazilian income. It boasted substantial-ceilings, wealthy frescos, complicated stonework, stucco reliefs and exotic timber carpentry. In deference to such noble spaces, the kitchen, laundry, larders and personnel quarters, which were usually hidden away in basements and attics, have been now placed within a single contiguous building, of spartan, widespread building.

Developed according to the devised model of an alpine chalet, so popular in 19th century Brazil (with narrow proportions, tall windows, pitched roofs and decorated eaves), the “3 Cusps Chalet” was that 1 constructing.

Due to the confluence of this kind of particular situations it is fairly likely the only illustration of a typical, spartan, 19th century creating of Brazilian ancestry in Portugal.

Siting at the heart of the 2 the Roman and medieval walls of Braga, a stone’s throw away from Braga’s Cathedral (one of the most historically substantial of the Iberian Peninsula) this is a especially sunny building with 2 fronts, one particular dealing with the street at West and one more 1, facing a delightful, competent block interior plaza at East, enjoying all-natural light all day prolonged.

At the time of our survey, its strategy is organized by the staircase (brightened by a skylight), positioned at the center of the residence and defining 2 spaces of equal dimension, East and West, on every of the floors.

The nature of every single floor changes from public to private as we climb from the keep at the street degree to a living room (West) and kitchen (East) at the very first floor, with the sleeping quarters on prime.

Components-sensible, all of the stonework and the peripheral supportive walls are built with regional yellow granite, even though the floors and roof are executed with wooden beams with hardwood flooring.


Confronted by each its degrading state and degree of adulteration, and by the interest of its story and typology, the design team took as their mission the recovery the building’s identity, which had been lost in 120 many years of small unqualified interventions. The intention was to clarify the building’s spaces and functions while simultaneously generating it fit for today’s way of residing.

The system asked for the cohabitation of a work studio and a home program. Offered the reduced location of the constructing, the original strategy of hierarchizing spaces by floor was followed. The degree of privacy grows as 1 climbs the staircase. The stairs also get narrower with each and every flight of methods, informing the modifying nature of the spaces it connects.

A willingness to make certain the utmost transparency throughout the constructing, enabling light to cross it from front to front and from prime to bottom, defined all of the organizational and partitioning strategies resulting in a answer relevant to a vertical loft.

The layout crew took advantage of a one,5 m (5 ft) height difference among the street and the block’s interior plaza to area the doing work spot on the ground degree, turing it westward and relating it to the street. Meanwhile, the domestic program relates with the interior plaza and the morning light via a platform that solves the transition in between kitchen and exterior. This enables for each spaces to right away assert quite different personalities and light, even however they are separated by just 2 flights of stairs.

The staircase geometry, previously closed in 3 of its sides, efficiently filters the visual relations amongst both applications even though nonetheless permitting for all-natural light to seep down from the upper levels and illuminate the doing work studio.

The 2nd floor was stored for the social plan of the property. Refusing the natural tendency for compartmentalizing, the staircase was allowed to define the perimeters of the kitchen and residing area, producing an open floor with normal light all day extended. Light enters from the kitchen in the morning, from the staircase’s skylight and from the residing area in the afternoon.

Climbing the final and narrow flights of stairs we reach the sleeping quarters the place the protagonist is the roof, whose framework was kept apparent, although painted white. On the other side of the staircase, which is the organizing element on each floor, there is a clothing space, backed by a bathroom.

If the visual theme of the home is the white colour, methodically repeated on walls, ceilings, carpentry and marble, the clothing space is the shock at the prime of the path in the direction of the personal places of the house. Both the floor and roof construction seem in their organic colors surrounded by closet doors constructed in the exact same material. It reads as a tiny wooden box, a counterpoint to the home’s white box and getting itself counterpointed by the marble box of the bathroom.


Fitting with the method of maximizing light and the explicitness of the spaces, the material and finish choices employed in this project have been intentionally limited. White colour was used for the walls, ceilings and carpentry due to its spacial attributes and lightness. Wood in its normal shade is used for the hardwood floors and clothes area due to its warmth and comfort. Portuguese white Estremoz marble, which covers the ground floor, countertops and on the bathrooms and laundry walls and floors, was picked for its texture, reflectivity and colour.

All of the original wood window frames of the major façade were recovered, the roof was remade with the authentic Marseille tiles more than a pine structure and the decorated eave restored to its original glory.

The hardwood floors had been remade with southern yellow pine more than the original construction and all the surfaces that necessary waterproofing covered with Portuguese Estremoz marble.

Ground floor window frames have been remade in iron, as per the unique, but redesigned in purchase to maximize natural illumination (as on the east façade).”

Photos by: João Morgado

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