March 30, 2023

In Braga, a building ‘abandoned, collapsed and rebuilt’ in shades of red and blue | Architecture

In an area of ​​historical sensitivity in the city of Braga, where memories of the Roman, medieval and modern urban periods combine, Alojamento São Sebastião was born, the result of a “new build experience very different from what happened in the original.” Where there used to be a fallen and abandoned building, a new one was rebuilt, which is distinguished by the “granite front facade, later recovered and the wooden window frames, also preserved from the original”, explains to P3 Tiago do Vale, founding architect by Atelier Tiago do Vale architects.

The recovery of this space resulted from the contact of the owners, the company Vale Escuro, who acquired the property with the aim of converting it into accommodation, which has not yet been opened. The first step was to recognize the space and realize what they had in hand. “It was a commission that initially seemed very ambitious”, recalls Tiago, because “the limitations of the surface and volume of the building were enormous”. The next step was to look for solutions, since it would only be a program “profitable with a certain number of units”, says the architect.

Despite the original ideas of the owners, the desire to have a project “as efficient as possible” gave the architect all the flexibility to consider what “options and typologies would work best in the space”. For this reason, “a lot of effort was put into integrating everything that was around” and making it possible to combine “the mid-20th century buildings, others from the 18th century and the accommodation”. To make this wedding possible, they used “everything that was already there, like the floor and sheet metal-clad back facade, and everything they could bring back, like the interior.”

An aspect that characterizes the space is the staircase which “solved a very complicated distribution situation due to the width of the building”. At the same time, the red of the staircase contrasts with the pastel blue of the tiles, making them a graphic element as well.

The space also features a skylight “which was characteristic of this building” and which was redesigned with “everything you would expect in a building of the period”. This skylight leads the stairs, creating, during the day, “various plays of light as the sun crosses the sky”, says the architect in charge.

In Braga, the accommodation in São Sebastião tells a story of rupture, as “the events of history made it continuously inhabitable”. However, now begins the new era of life of a place that was “abandoned, collapsed and rose again”.

Text edited by Amanda Ribeiro

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