Design Notebook by Sias SA

Pat(i)o – A House in Luanda: Patio and Pavilion, International Design Competition, Lisbon Architecture Triennale


The objective of the architecture competition, promoted with the Lisbon Triennale, was to design a prototype single family dwelling unit which leads to patio, aimed at severely deprived families, typically consisting of 7-9 people (parents, children and grandparents). The house radically cheap (max. 25,000 euros) was to build for Luanda, a city which is under extreme demographic pressure and is undergoing an intense process of transformation. The house should allow for evolutionary solutions, and possibly self-construction, which are therefore adapted to the speed of transformation of the social fabric of Angola and Luanda, being the large African metropolis that it progressively will become.




Principles of Design–Quality of Design: Project’s principles of design have a ground basis on the interpretation of dynamics and potential of indigenous African culture. In particular, the project inherits Differentiation-Hierarchy of space, which is found in traditional African architecture. The model of spatial organization in traditional African dwelling is based upon a CENTER (Fire-place) / UP (Umsamo) / DOWN (Entrance) / LEFT (Female) / and RIGHT (Male) distinction in habitat space. On the same (vertical) axis opposite the entrance area there is the UMSAMO, a traditional word standing for the ancestry of the family. It is considered the most important sacred part of the dwelling, occupying the spirits of the ancestors that protect the well-being of the habitats (family). The house is developing around a Patio, an open space where all vital activities of the family can occur. Construction-wise, local, low-tech materials (concrete masonry units, corrugated metal roof on wood frame, reed screens and ceilings) are proposed.




Project info

A House in Luanda: Patio and Pavilion
International Architecture Competition
Lisbon Architecture Triennale
Lisbon, Portugal

Architects: SOUTH architecture
Project Team: Eleni Livanis, Chrysostomos Theodoropoulos

Type: Prototype sustainable house
Location: Luanda, Angola
Lot Area: 250 m2
Floor Area: 100 m2
Budget: 25,000 E
Year: 2010­-2011




South is an Athens based architectural practice founded in 2004 by Eleni Livanis and Chrysostomos Theodoropoulos upon their return in Greece from New York city. Pat(i)o, their proposal in the architecture competition promoted with the Lisbon Triennale, has been selected to be showcased at the 8th Greek Young Architects Biennial inaugurated in Athens in September, proudly supported by SIAS SA.