fala atelier transforms a former factory into an affordable housing unit

fala atelier transforms a former factory into an affordable housing unit

fala atelier has converted a former clothing factory into a housing unit. the factory that initially looked like a house so that it would fit in its context, was transformed into an apartment block that still resembles an industrial structure in an archetypical and existential innuendo.



each of the three levels is comprised of two apartments where the extremely low budget imposed a ‘social housing standard’ construction. nevertheless, the existing open plan grants very generous areas and panoramic views in each apartment, creating a spatial tension.



the geometry of the plan started from the existing alignment of columns. the axis, off centered due to the different sizes of the machines that originally occupied the space, provided a grid — from that point, geometry ruled over the general arrangement. six square rooms, one of them divided into two triangular spaces, a curve, and a small kink. rules, exceptions and unbalanced symmetries were imposed to achieve order. a sequence of equally distanced blue doors, the three concrete columns and the brutal beam create a sense of continuity along the different apartments.



the façade is simple and ordered, following rules dictated by the plan. the white volume is stressed by a regular grid of identical windows; the rain pipes are exuberantly employed. the stale cornice, the roughness of the white texture, the repetition of the same opening and the domestic blue door marking the building’s entrance hold an architectural language.



project info:


name: housing abragão penafiel

architects: fala atelier

location: portugal

year: 2016-2018

team: filipe magalhães, ana luisa soares, ahmed belkhodja, julia andreychenko, rute peixoto, lera samovich, paulo sousa

landscape architect: joão magalhães

client: private

contractor: ruce

photography: ricardo loureiro

  • In the States, I can see someone selling those marble steps. (I am a little upset this was the first thing to come to mind.) My instincts are that LI housing should be designed to be torn down in 20 years time and reconstructed. Even the housing we provide to Military families is a disgrace.

    Forget Mars – we need to properly colonize this planet.


    Jimmy Xi says:
  • They need housing like that he in Las Vegas NV they act like they don’t want poor people to live in nice places

    Nettie says:
  • Americans definitely need to come up with the times and do the same for our citizens as well shame on us for making so many excuses as to why there isn’t enough housing when indeed there is.

    Christina says:
  • An admirably sustainable approach – and a sophisticated and beautiful outcome.

    Peter Dungey says:

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