Nice Shades: Lisbon Renovation Keeps Cool With Automated Wood Shutters

©. Joao Morgado

Solar control, security, privacy and ventilation, all in one clever device – why don't more buildings still have shutters?

Before we had air conditioning, a traditional way of keeping cooler inside was to stop the heat before it got in. That's why buildings and houses had awnings, why people planted trees, and why houses often had shutters. In most of North America now, shutters are just decorations and don't even function.

Lisbon Wood closeup

© Joao MorgadoIn Europe, shutters and exterior blinds are more common. Photographer Joao Morgado shows us an interesting project designed by Plano Humano Arquitectos, Lisbon Wood, where the shutters are a key part of their intervention to modernize an existing building, previously offices. It now contains 15 apartments and two shops.

Interior of Lisbon Wood unit

© Joao Morgado

The project intended to provide the building with features of a current architecture. New materials, new spaces, new connections, thus creating new experiences for the new established use, to inhabit... We opened the building to the outer space. We extend it on balconies that increase the space of habitation, which thus also happens outdoors, in contact with the open air, a relic in the center of the city. Interior and exterior are in constant dialogue.
closeup of shutters

© Joao Morgado

Wood is the hallmark of the building. Traditional and noble material, allied to the current technology, in the cladding of facades that will always be dynamic, different for each moment of the day and for each apartment. The facade is dynamic, it has constant movement, which makes it a mutable, almost living building, that transcends its inner life to the exterior.
Solar control

© Plano Humano Arquitectos

The architects designed the balconies and the shutters to minimize solar gain. Lisbon has a wonderful Mediterranean climate moderated by the ocean, so this is a logical approach. But another benefit of shutters is that along with solar control, you still have ventilation and privacy if you want it.

Lisbon Wood from a distance

© Joao Morgado

Air conditioning is pretty much inevitable in new buildings, probably even in Lisbon; I see condensers on the neighbor's balconies. But surely we have an obligation to minimize the amount we use. That's why these shutters are such a good idea. Solar control, security, privacy and ventilation all in one clever device.

Lisbon wood trees

© Joao Morgado

Nice photography by Joao Morgado, too.