Exponor House


Location: Matosinhos, Portugal
Date: 2002
2º Award in Habitação Singular contest, given by the Consejo Superior de los Colégios de Arquitectos de España (CSCAE).
Honourable Mention in Habitação Singular contest, given by the Consejo Superior de los Colégios de Arquitectos de España (CSCAE).
Honourable Mention in the International Award of Sustainable Architecture, given by Architecture University of Ferrara.
2º Prize in L’Architettura Automática, International Architecture Award with “Intelligent House”, given by DITEC – Automatic Entrance Specialists.

Client: Exponor

Built area 144 m2

Fátima Fernandes and Michele Cannatà

Fabio Garrabeta
Filipe Afonso
Ingrid Barroso
Javier Calo
Vítor Ferreira

Structural Engeneering
Gop – João Maria Sobreira

Gop – Raquel Fernandes

Mechanical Engeneering
Get – Raul Bessa

Electric Engeneering
Lightplan – Fernando Silva

Photographic credits
Luís Ferreira Alves


The house, as a living space, has always been, for the architects, a privileged space of investigation and experimentation. An investigation that touches the economic and technology fields, embracing the production processes, as well as the inevitable dynamics of the evolution of society. Unfortunately, we are gradually becoming aware that the economic dimension, which is dependent on the market logic, delays the quality of the household life, and stops its evolution processes. This situation proves the undeveloped status of habitation, in contrast with the development in other areas, like health, aeronautics, or even genetics.
Family was never as changeable as in the contemporary age. This ‘new’ family has a demand for comfort and functionality that can be satisfied by technology and science. However, in the majority of the Portuguese houses built today, these demands remain unanswered. Its is our aim to reduce the number of workers in the construction process as well as the time spent in the same process. We can achieve this by increasing the space flexibility and integrating a greater number of prefabricated construction elements.
A contemporary house must be ‘intelligent’ because it must be beautiful, functional, comfortable, logic and able to save money in the maintenance and management. It must be capable of responding to safety, intimacy, comfort, and psychological pleasure.
The House, an exceptional place to live and a small element of the urban morphology, has always been a privileged theme, and a particularly studied one, to architects. The Industrial Revolution helped to create the utopia of a better world through the freedom from the enslavement by mechanical work and the production of quality to everyone. It was impossible to keep a balance between a social system based on the economy as a primary element and the act of providing the collective necessities in an equalitarian way. Consequently, it has generated a productive diversification according to the different economic possibilities of the consumers.
The house, isolated and individual, a place where the family rituals are performed, suffers nowadays the contradictions of the western society, where time overcomes space, and images substitute reality.
Recently, some experiences in works which ask for quick executions, and that, for various reasons, quadruplicated the execution time, making the clients tired and putting the contractors out of control, led us to despair. The situation conducted us to three ideas that reflect our current preoccupations in the project elaboration and that characterise this work.
The construction, consisting of layers of dirty, uncomfortable, wet, cold, and disorganised workmanship, which is still existing, in Portugal, is completely anachronistic. Even if this situation is comfortable to us, it is the result of a wrong project process, because it still does not introduce the processes of assembling lines of the industrial production, because it does not think in the work economy in terms of controlled management of assembling times, and because it does not apply the execution and assembling systems in work conditions in factory, with a minimal presence in the building dock , where the meteorological conditions are unpredictable.
The modern family needs flexible spaces, quickly changeable, where privacy is achieved without the necessity of putting up walls and closing doors. Consequently the leisure and social spaces become wider and more open.
The construction substance must be minimal and should correspond to the demands of comfort, hygiene, aesthetics, durability, and the minimal maintenance necessary to the contemporary man.
In what Home Control is concerned, we must admit that this is another necessary infra structure that should be introduced in the making of the project. The same happened with the sewer network, with the electric network, with the telephones network and with the mechanical infra structures. In addition, with the automobile air conditioning system, and with the windows automatic control. Not a long time ago, we used to wash dishes with our hands…