The two adjacent buildings subject to the rehabilitation project by Meireles Arquitectos are part of an area classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, which made the intervention careful, non-invasive, and meeting the requirements of the architectural program of the area. The architectural exercise was complex, but very interesting and challenging.
Gold Winner – Archframe Design Awards 2021
Design Firm – Meireles Arquitectos
Project Title – Infante
Project Category – Restoration Renovation
Status – Built
Architect/Designer – Mário Miguel Meireles
Design Team – Filipa Lima (Architecture); Sofia de Eça (Graphic Design)
Practice – Professional Architect
Country – Portugal
The origins of the adjacent buildings were studied, and, through a historical investigation, it was found that they underwent several distinct interventions over time. Although the interior of the building structure of the Infante building presents a set of proofs that refer its primary building to medieval times (basement walls and some elements referring to interventions of the fifteenth century), the predominant architectural characteristics were carried out in the eighteenth century.
It was the last interventions of the 18th century that served as a basis for the renovation that was carried out by the studio. In programmatic terms, the aim was to transform the two buildings into one, consisting of several apartments and a store.
The exterior of the building suffered few alterations: the façades were rehabilitated, keeping their original design, with the exception of new openings introduced at ground level, in order to give some transparency to the store, a new balcony was introduced on the 5th floor and several beams were included in the roof space, in order to make it habitable.
The interior of the building was totally rehabilitated to make the program fulfilled and to guarantee all the quality of habitability currently demanded. However, all the influence of past times, reflected in both buildings, was used, both in the type of materials used, (predominantly wood), and in the drawings of the spans, the drawings of the stairs and the drawings of the frames that stand out in the ceilings and walls, the latter being a direct influence of the 18th century Baroque style in Oporto, although their design and shape were simplified as much as possible.
With an excellent location, in the historical center and near the riverside of Oporto, the Infante building is in the center of the tourist activity, surrounded by the main monuments and points of interest of the city.