Sunday June 16th, 2024
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This House Was Designed for the Egyptian Ambassador in Lisbon

Wrapped in flutes, the home’s official rooms marked with a herringbone pattern evocative of 19th century marqueterie.

Karim Abdullatif

Evoking Heliopolis’s art deco and modernist villas, as well as Lisbon’s Portuguese suave architecture, Lisbon-based architects Promontorio designed this house for the Egyptian ambassador residence after recently completing the Egyptian Embassy in Portugal in the same lush neighbourhood of Restelo in Avenida das Descobertas.

While they covered the monolithic embassy in geometric patterns, Promontorio chose a fluted concrete facade for the ambassador’s residence instead. The flutes form windows and act as columns for pergolas and balconies, adding dynamism to the design’s subtle referencing of archetypal Palladian villas.

Meant to be completed in 2023, the design - which landed Promontorio the first prize in a competition held by the Egyptian Building Fund Authority - is located in a wide avenue hosting an array of stand-alone villas, many of which are occupied by diplomatic personalities.

In order to preserve the ambassador’s privacy and protocol, particular attention was paid to the house’s circulation. “Clearness of public and service circuits as well as full visibility of visitors’ access is a critical security issue at the core of the residence’s design,” the studio explains.

“The residence is accessed by a generous ramp from the security gateway at Avenida das Descobertas while southwards it’s sheltered by an extensive upper lawn flanked by soaring trees.” Meanwhile, a ceremonial front yard faces the main entrance and opens up into a wide canopy to welcome guests inside.

Stepping into the diplomatic home, wooden floors mark official rooms in solid oak boarding with a herringbone pattern that mimics that of 19th century marqueterie.

Drawing from Italian architect Piero Protaluppi’s Villa Necchi, a modern day museum filled with the architect’s products, Promontorio thought of a winter garden in the study by creating double window casings wide enough to host flower pots. The result is a space that can be both a conservatory room and an everyday workplace for the ambassador.

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