Finish-grade plywood has a simple, clean beauty to it that can help refresh interior spaces in need of an update. A3A Arquitetos Associados made ample use of it at the Herdade dos Toucinhos Office Building in Portugal, completely transforming the layout of the existing building with new modular built-in units. Serving as the headquarters of an agricultural company as well as communal housing for farm workers, the building has to be multifunctional and use the available space wisely.
First and foremost, the architects lifted the roof and added skylights to take full advantage of abundant natural light during the day. This made room for a new intermediate mezzanine level that essentially doubles the building’s floor space. Instead of framing it out conventionally with drywall, they chose to create plywood-clad volumes that stand independently in the center of the building.
These new volumes divide up the wide open space of the building, creating a perimeter of hallways, interior spaces, ceilings for the lower level and a platform for the mezzanine. They include built-in storage, closets, benches, desks and lighting and lack any unnecessary hardware for a unified, uncluttered result. All exterior walls were maintained in their original condition to preserve the character of the building.
“This project embraces a modern, contemporary design, which starts from the analysis of tradition and its reinterpretation, its simplification and clarification, in a global strategy that aims to be minimalist and highly effective in functionally optimizing and preserving tradition.”