Text description provided by the architects. Preservation and rehabilitation are the driving force of this scheme located in Coimbra’s UNESCO historic district near to São Salvador’s Church. A series of small but delicate interventions transform existing structure through careful design, material selection and modern building techniques.
On the ground floor, one enters into a small living room where an equipped counter provides for the residents’ cooking needs. The first studio can be found at the back through which a tiny patio reveals itself. Above, the suits are oriented towards the street while the studios open to the back patio. Exposed wooden beams create an interior rhythm and give the sense of additional ceiling height. The bathrooms are lined with small white tiles which are not only practical but reflect and enhance natural light.
The staircase is a key feature of the design. The removal of risers and disassociation of the handrail create a spiral appearance that is permeable and generous compared to the previously narrow and claustrophobic space.
This project re-interprets the existing building techniques and materials into a coherent whole, celebrating the many layers of history and welcoming additional marks and imprints, both physical and ephemeral.