This was our first commission together and with such a challenging site. A privileged place in its relationship with the D.Luís I bridge facing Porto´s Ribeira, in a unique landscape that leads us where the Douro crosses the horizon.
Building on this Unesco protected area with its charming historical character, was a delicate process – a deep reflection made of very strong restrictions.
The existing building - buffeted by abandonment and full of add-ons, would have to adapt to a new use: local tourism apartments. It was necessary to organize five independent flexible use studios, a top floor penthouse, a reception with a common kitchen, back office and a technical area.
Given the constraints and the weaknesses of the building´s remaining perimeter granite walls, a longitudinal concrete axis serves as backbone to support the existent structure and to answer all the technical necessities. Inside this concrete block are installed bathrooms, kitchens, vertical ducts, lighting and the elevator.
The view became longitudinal: the courtyard versus the Ribeira and the Douro.
The proposal is treated through the longitudinal section, the relationships that the reconstruction of the street entrance would bring the inner experience of the building. The courtyard sculpture - a staircase-, connects all floors and different exterior areas. All the common and public areas are located on the ground level, with two studios per floor, all the dwellings are autonomous, with a large living and sleeping continuous area and own kitchen and toilet.
The third floor is the penthouse: a two bedroom apartment with a large living room with a breathtaking panoramic view of Porto and the river.