For Susana Carvalho enthusiasm for creativity and visual expression started already from the childhood. She has always loved drawing, painting and crafts, but, at some point in youth, Susana was at the point where she had to choose between fashion design and architecture. “I guess architecture was more complete for me”, Susana says with a happy smile on her face. “I am also in love with history and art, so in architecture I could combine those two things with the creative activities”, she continues. In addition to architectural studies Susana has gained knowledge in engineering, rehabilitation and sustainable design. “In today’s architecture it is just not enough to be successful in creating sustainable buildings, you have to understand wider perspective as well”, Susana explains.
“In today’s architecture it is just not enough to be successful in creating sustainable buildings, you have to understand wider perspective as well”
Personal philosophy in architecture
Susana has two different themes in her architecture based on the nature of the building project. When designing completely new buildings she takes all the aspects and requirements of modern engineering, respect for the environment and energy saving, in her design. When she redesigns old buildings, she wants to store them for next generations and adapt them into the modern way of life.
“I don’t want to imitate old buildings and methods, but I want to find a way to combine old and new to create a sustainable rehabilitation, that at the same time, respects the past and identity of the building” Susana says.
São Pedro de Avioso
“In São Pedro de Avioso chapel I wanted to bring something new and light into a surrounding with a lot of history and traditional stone buildings.”, Susanna enthusiastically tells. São Pedro de Avioso, located in Portugal, is a little rural village with many old farm houses . Almost all farms in the region have a small building called “espigueiro”, which is used to store grain. The new chapel, replicates some of the construction principals and materials used in these traditional buildings.
In this small village people want to know what is happening. When the chapel has lights on, the villagers can see the light through the narrow Thermowood panels. Susana also wanted to bring natural light into the chapel, to enable a peaceful and calming atmosphere. The exterior walls are constructed of transparent polycarbonate covered by Thermowood profiles to add insulation protection. The wood structure is open to ensure ventilation and lift from the ground, to stop humidity and termites from destroying the building materials and to create an illusion of a floating construction. Interior Thermowood improves the thermal and acoustic performance of the building.
“Inspiration is, nowadays, with all the information available, especially online, almost infinite. But true inspiration comes from the things you feel and get to experience.”
Source of inspiration
Susana loves to travel all around the world and gather ideas especially from her passion, exploring exotic, warm countries. “Inspiration is, nowadays, with all the information available, especially online, almost infinite. But true inspiration comes from the things you feel and get to experience.”, Susana says.
Her favorite materials are wood, steel, glass and raw concrete. Susana loves to design entities that respect the nature. That is also something Susana appreciates in Nordic design and Scandinavian wood products.
“I am a responsible designer and particularly interested in products that last, with low maintenance costs. The first and the most important impression of Thermowood is its durability”
Long-lasting building materials
Susana became acquainted with Thermowood products already eight years ago.
“I am a responsible designer and particularly interested in products that last, with low maintenance costs. The first and the most important impression of Thermowood is its durability”, Susana says.
She is not only designing buildings, but she is also responsible for their maintenance. Susana prefers the original rustic brown tone of Thermowood products and she likes to capture it also in the long run. The original feature of Thermowood is that it develops a natural silver-grey patina when exposed to sunlight. For this reason, constructions designed by Susana are treated with pigmented wood oil or stain.
In Susana’s opinion construction companies should be should be educated more about wood materials. Architect makes the decision and suggestion about the materials used in the project, but in some cases the builder might change the material, when not knowing the materials well enough.
When asking what has been the most rememberable project for Susana Carvalho, she responses with a smile:
“My favorite project is normally the latest one. I must say that I am still quite in love with this little chapel in Sao Pedro de Avioso.”