Modernizing an apartment designed by by the internationally renowned Portuguese architect Alvaro Siza was a big responsibility for Lisbon-based architectural firm rar.studio. (The apartment, located in Lisbon's Chiado district, was part of Terraços de Bragança, is part of a set of buildings designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira that completed construction in the early 2000s.) According to architect Rita Aguiar Rodrigues, carefully considering what was necessary and adding to the design, rather than completely changing it, was paramount. "Working within the scope of a Siza Vieira project represents a difficult but desirable challenge. Weighing the responsibility of our intervention and searching for ways to make it useful, that was the biggest challenge," Rodrigues said.
The firm opted to revamp a few key elements while keeping the highly-respected architect's original layout largely untouched. "We made some strategic changes but kept its general layout," Rodrigues said. Instead of changing the layout, the firm worked to change four key elements. "It had four features that made it look substantially different: narrow and dark wood planks on the floor, shorter doors and all cabinets aligned by the same height, larger window/door frames and lower skirting boards," Rodrigues said. Changes included replacing the dark planks for lighter-toned ones, extending the height of the doors to match the windows, and a total overhaul in the bathroom and kitchen areas.