- Coordinators: Paulo Borges, Pedro Leitão
- Project Team: Gonçalo Rego, Maria Paula
- Structural Project: Margarida Conceição
- Fire Protection: Mónica Cordeiro
- Work Supervision: MC2E Lda.
- Construction Company: Manteivias S.A.
- Interior Design: Stephanie Parein Interior Design
- Landscape Desgin: Xscapes Arquitetura Paisagista Unp. Lda.
- HVAC: J.A&V.C – Engenheiros Consultores, Lda.
- Electrical Installations: Carlos Vicente
- City: Gouveia
- Country: Portugal
Text description provided by the architects. The challenge was to create a wellness and mindfulness center based on the idea of community life at Serra da Estrela Nature Park, a UNESCO Global Geopark site and Portugal’s oldest and largest conservation area. The chosen property already included a number of preexisting buildings, which allowed developing the project despite the many constraints that limit any intervention in a conservation area.
The New Life Portugal wanted to make the most of the property’s excellent conditions to offer meditation, yoga, counselling, coaching, fitness, nature and mindfulness activities. So, the various facilities were designed with the goal of establishing a close relationship between the views and the surrounding nature and the concept of wellness, maximizing it.
The traditional buildings of the old “quintas” were transformed into accommodation units, while the program for the community facilities was the theme for designing contemporary buildings. Transforming the ruins implied their expansion, focused on the use of cork – a natural material that has optimal thermal insulation characteristics and an excellent aesthetic potential – to mark the difference between the old and the new.
The refurbishment of the 10 preexisting ruins allowed creating 4 residential clusters with a total of 49 private ensuite units, customized in order to guarantee a balanced combination of privacy and community life. The community facilities include a multifunctional community center, a meditation hall and a therapy center, in addition to the reception building.
The multifunctional community center, focused on relaxing and unwinding, is the social hub of the community, comprising a dining hall, a lounge area, a gym (which is also used for workshops, yoga sessions and meetings), an outdoor heated swimming pool, a sauna and a massage room.
The stunning meditation hall offers panoramic views over the valley. It is located at one of the highest sites of the property and creates the perfect atmosphere for meditation, yoga and mindfulness activities by making the most of the beauty of Serra da Estrela.
The therapy center comprises a number of rooms for one-on-one counselling and life coaching sessions, among other therapeutic activities, ensuring the necessary tranquility and comfort for restorative healing. This combination of modernity and traditional Portuguese architecture and materials, that fosters a strong communion with Nature, invites guests to feel a sense of openness in their search for balance between body and mind.