What You See Is What You Get in the Dodged House

©. Dylan Perrenoud

How to do more with less.

It is the bathroom photo that got me. The slab of marble spanning between exposed block walls, under poured concrete ceilings – absolutely minimal. Architects Daniel Zamarbide and Leopold Banchini have really done as little as possible here.

Street in Lisbon with Dodged House

© Dylan PerrenoudI was in Lisbon recently after a Passivhaus conference, and walked streets just like these. I loved the narrow streets and it all seemed quite busy, but the architects tell a different story of ruin and renewal:

The crisis that hit Portugal ten years ago has produced an incredible density of abandoned spaces. The two main cities, Porto and Lisbon, offered a landscape of ruins and closed buildings that charmed an international community looking for a southern romanticism. Since then the two cities have acted and reacted to renew their historical centers and a good quantity of these abandoned houses have been renovated with a general undeniable quality, probably due to the sensitive and cultivated approach of Portuguese architects in general.
Sealed windows

© Dylan Perrenoud

"This landscape of closed buildings was featured by numerous opaque facades, hiding the interiors as if the life of those buildings had disappeared or was in a frozen state, waiting for better times to open the windows again and let the sunshine in. Streets with no windows, faces without eyes."

Dodged House interior

© Dylan Perrenoud

Much like the traditional houses of Lisbon, the windows are relatively small. This minimizes solar gain and maximizes privacy. It is a challenge to the Instagrammable renovations happening in Lisbon:

Library in roof

© Dylan Perrenoud

In the end the Dodged house is quite a simple and readable project. Although it might be complex in its inscription into the urban fabric and historical context, it is nevertheless quite straightforward in its way to occupy space and distribute the program in a small plot. As its names indicates, the Dodged house makes an attempt to elude, to trick, an actual state of a certain architecture in Lisbon.
Bedroom Dodged House

© Dylan Perrenoud

The architects call the Dodged House a “machine à habiter”, a machine for living, Le Corbusier's term. The definition fits. Everything is exposed; what you see is what there is. And not a bit of drywall!

Interior of Dodged house

© Dylan Perrenoud