camarim arquitetos restores lisbon house with decorative facade of patterned tiles

camarim arquitetos restores lisbon house with decorative facade of patterned tiles

house no. 11: a decorative facade for lisbon


Camarim Arquitetos has unveiled its latest project, House No. 11, the renovation of a historic building in Lisbon‘s Santa Isabel neighborhood. The residential project stands out for its shimmering and decorative facade, wrapped on all sides with verdant, green patterned tiles — a signature element of Portuguese architecture. The exterior material palette is a thoughtful blend of modern and traditional elements, featuring copper-coated zinc, dark-green wrought iron, engraved ceramic tiles, terracotta flat roof tiles, and both replicas and restored traditional ceramic tiles.

camarim arquitetos house 11images © Nelson Garrido



camarim arquitetos Reimagines a Legacy


Camarim Arquitetos’ House No. 11 occupies a unique location between an industrial school and a cemetery. This peculiar setting presented an interesting challenge. The building’s prominence even attracted the Lisbon City Council, who considered demolishing it in 1942. Fortunately, it survived, standing as a testament to early 20th-century collective housing. The original structure featured an ornamental front facade, while the side and rear facades were more functional.


The new owners imagined a complete transformation, converting the building into a private residence. The architects embraced this vision and aimed to infuse the building with a sense of context, a quality perhaps absent from its original construction. The team’s approach focused on responding to the surrounding environment — the widened street, the gardened cemetery and private garden, and even the distant river. These responses are woven together in a continuous flow that defines the experience of the house, both inside and out.

camarim arquitetos house 11
Lisbon’s House No. 11 by Camarim Arquitectos features a decorative facade clad in traditional green tiles



Transformation Through Deconstruction and Reconstruction


To achieve this vision of its House No. 11, Camarim Arquitetos undertook a significant transformation. The building’s interior, along with the east and rear facades, were carefully deconstructed. Drawing inspiration from the preserved front facade, they embarked on a ‘compositional program’ that reshaped the building’s edges. This program involved a thoughtful process of ‘purifying or saturating, attenuating or amplifying’ the existing architecture and its decorative elements.


The result is a design that the architects describe as ‘chronological,’ reflecting the building’s history through its transformation. The rear facade, in contrast, offers a more literal expression of the interior layout, organized around a central atrium that dynamically changes heights throughout the space.

camarim arquitetos house 11
the historic building sits between a school and a cemetery, and narrowly escaped demolition in 1942 camarim arquitetos house 11
the client envisioned a complete transformation, while the architects aimed to add context and integrity camarim arquitetos restores lisbon house with decorative facade of patterned tiles
the design responds to the surrounding environment, including the street, cemetery, garden, and river


most of the building was deconstructed and reshaped based on the remaining front facade

camarim arquitetos restores lisbon house with decorative facade of patterned tiles
the rear facade reflects the interior layout, organized around a central atrium of varying heights


Camarim Arquitectos’ design philosophy emphasizes the connection between the whole and its parts

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