This project won the 2013 Architizer A+ Popular Choice Award in the residential single family home. See the full list of winners here.
Sustainability in architecture reveals itself in many forms, some more subtle or hidden than others. It's much more complicated an issue than just green lawning your building, but sometimes that's just what you need to get your message across.
The House in Travessa do Patrocínio by RA\\ ( Luís Rebelo de Andrade, Tiago Rebelo de Andrade, Manuel Cachão Tojal) does just that. The narrow townhouse is situated smack dab in Lisbon, in a neighborhood with little access to green spaces. To compensate for this lack, the architects draped the house with lush green facades that cover 100 square-meters of wall space. But this isn't your run-of-the-mill green building accessory. The facades are integral components to the architecture, not just tacked on for a higher LEED score. They're planted with approximately 4,500 plants sourced from 25 different local varieties, which all require little maintenance. The result is a vertical garden that the architects say functions as an urban "lung" within the pavement-heavy area, helping to rid the residential street of excess noise, carbon, and other pollutants floating about.
Given the compact size of the lot, the interior of the house is organized around a linear stair (or "ladder" as the architect describe it) that connects all of the home's four floors. A central courtyard lets in light at all levels, while creating a social space for the inhabitants to gather. The staircase extends the courtyard to the rooftop, which sports a long deck ideal for tanning, grilling, and all-around summer fun, plus an inconspicuous swimming pool perfect for doing morning laps. And just for kicks, the architects threw in another surprise. The house's largest rooms are perfumed with different fragrances: the master bedrooms is scented with lavender, the living room is imparted with the smell of rosemary, and the pool will have you sniffing saffron.
Though small and humble in proportion, the architects hope that the house is an "example of sustainability for the city of Lisbon," a new urban model applicable at all scales of building.