Middleyard is a modern single-story house located in Trofa, Portugal, designed in 2022 by
The plot – rectangular and slender – is surrounded by tall buildings on the sides and back, which encloses it, and by the road on the front side.
Right from the start, the intention was to have a one-story house, which, due to its urban context, would always be surrounded by the refereed taller buildings.
The interior and exterior privacy of the house was, therefore, one of the main challenges of this project.
A private outdoor space was also intended. However, instead of the common backyard, the approach was to provide a middleyard, in order to achieve some privacy in the outdoor space. The house was designed in a “C” shape, turning its back to the surroundings and
facing an interior patio that opens only in an unobstructed area.
The roof reaches its highest point along the middleyard, closing it from any visual axes of the higher surrounding buildings, while stabilising a reference to the typical roofs of the region.
In addition to the issue of privacy, which gave the project its first form, the sun exposure of the house and the patio itself was also taken into account. The patio is located exactly in the centre of the house, facing south-east. In the rooms that have contact with the courtyard, windows are opened strategically, on the faces oriented to south, a large continuous glass panel is opened, which corresponds to the windows of the living room, kitchen and hallway, while on the façade facing north, smaller and more specific windows.
The house is divided into two large areas: intimate space (bedrooms) and common space (living room and kitchen). On the south side, closest to the street, are the bedrooms. On the north side, in the back of the plot, are the living room and kitchen. This layout was chosen mainly so that the common spaces, although in the northern part of the plot, could open up to the interior of the patio with sunlight from the south.
In the union of the two large areas of the house (intimate and common), two shapes emerge: a corridor and a cylinder. The corridor, skewed in relation to the orthogonality of the house, specifically joins the entrance hall and the living room. The cylinder stands out from the general shape of the house, thus marking the moment of entry, with a high ceiling and a skylight over the door. This space is divided by a cabinet detached from the cylindrical volume, which separates the entrance hall, with access to the living room, and an informal office area, connected to the bedroom corridor.
Photography by Alexander Bogorodskiy