Ilha das Antas

Our proposal for the ‘Pensar, Construir, Habitar’ competition presents an incremental strategy for revitalising a typical ilha (‘island’, a low-income housing neighbourhood) on the eastern edge of Porto in Portugal. The project, developed in collaboration with DK-CM, is based on upgrading the existing buildings and developing the shared outdoor area. These two strands are linked by a portico which runs along the full length of the intervention, interacting with the small existing informal porches. At various points, the structure of the portico widens out, creating areas for community use and enabling appropriation.

The reconfiguration of the existing houses aims to improve the living conditions on the ilha in a cost-effective manner. The solutions adopted establish common criteria for the service areas (kitchens, halls and sanitary facilities) in every home. All of the elements used are easy to replace and maintain, ensuring greater involvement from residents in resolving potential problems over the long term.

The decision was taken to increase the open area for common use by removing all of the outbuildings which were in an advanced state of degradation. Similarly, the interiors of some houses also required a larger usable area to comply with the typologies established for family residences. As a result, some existing dwellings were combined, reducing the total number of houses from twelve to nine.