A phenomenal renovation, expansion, and reappropriation of an agricultural property to a new vineyard, hotel, and offices by João Mendes Ribeiro. The project is another in a long lineage of exemplary renovations by the architect, displaying his mastery of detail, material, texture, and spatial planning within the sensitive and restrictive confines of historical sites.
Located in the vast Alentejo plains of Portugal, the project included a thorough survey of the existing historic buildings, determining which were damaged beyond repair/of no architectural significance to be demolished, those that were to be kept and renovated, and where to add additional new constructions. The resulting composition is an interesting juxtaposition of ornate, colorful historic structures, coupled with abstract, simplified, almost detail-less monolithic buildings that mimic the scale and typology of the existing stables. This contrast becomes a concept that is clearly delineated and reinforced throughout the project.
The orientation of the new buildings also creates several courtyards, some which service the hotel with pools or outdoor gardens, others with planters for crops and herbs, and others to accentuate the scale of the property with singular material gestures.
Existing interiors are stripped to their bare structural elements, and finished in a stark white paint. New additions to the space stand out in contrast against this blank pallet; concrete, wood, and tiled elements float freely, ensure that the expanse of the historic buildings are visible by maintaining views of the entire volume.
The new buildings maintain a similar interior proportion, but are slightly more minimal in their structural expression to ensure a continual flow between spaces while maintaining a subtle visual separation between old and new.
A subterranean cellar made of board-form concrete and a sculptural stair creates an inversion of the spaces above, with a dark foreground material punctured by moments of high contrast created by slivers of light.
The complex is a very simple yet powerful exercise in the delicate balance of historical preservation and modernization. Minimal gestures become extremely significant due to their relationship to the space around them. All photos (C) do mal o menos.
Renovation of an old thermal control center to an arts building at Universida de Coimbra by João Mendes Ribeiro. There’s a lot I like about this project; not only am I a sucker for old industrial equipment, but Menedes Riberio had previously designed one of my favorite rehabs of all time, and he has a very distinct way of introducing contemporary forms and functions into historic structures. The picture above is a pretty funny moment in which the original rail and transport cart is left in tact, meandering through the new lecture hall. Most of the existing industrial equipment is left untouched, and given new life with multiple layers of highly articulated lighting. Continue here for more images.