Manuel and Graça Correia had a well-defined plan for their retirement: after a lifetime of living in Barcelos, the mechanics’ teacher and the Pottery Museum technician would spend their time in Porto or Vila do Conde. But their son, Tiago, and daughter-in-law Filipa, both architects, swayed their minds. “I always wanted to build a house from scratch where my parents could spend their retirement,” explains Tiago Correia, who alongside his wife, Filipa Guerreiro, designed Ateliê da Bouça. “Filipa’s family is from Paredes de Coura, in 2008 we’ve found this land at a good price and decided to bring the two families together. For those who have children, like we do, it turns out to be more practical to be close to each other on weekends.”
The project turned out to be for two sister houses, one for their parents, another for their uncles, Adélio and Odete Correia: the houses of Bouça das Cardosas. Until it became a reality, however, the clan went through some mishaps and setbacks. From the beginning there was the question of whether it would be possible to build in that area. It was an old agricultural land seven kilometers away from the center of Paredes de Coura, with about 2600 m2, which became a land full of oaks and eucalyptus trees. Then they had to deal with the bureaucratic part with the municipality and, later, an economic crisis that made it hard to finance the project. Despite all the issues, giving up was never an option.
The work in Graça and Manuel’s house lasted four years, from 2008 to 2012, and the financial constraints eventually turned into creative opportunities. Whether it was to look for other types of materials (some very unlikely in a project of this kind), as well as to roll up their sleeves and “woodworking”. For example: the flooring of the house was supposed to be in dumb brick, but turned out to be in light concrete, an acoustic coating material used in highways; the skirting boards were meant to be in wood, but were made in marble coming directly from a quarry and placed by hand like a puzzle; the fireplace was built with a type of brick made with leftover concrete, and so on. Finally, an error in the execution of the dimensions of a concrete wall in the room allowed the sculptor Inês Correia, Tiago’s sister, to get her creative thus making the house a full family project.