Casa Do Conto - Porto - Portugal
In 2008, The Atelier Pedra Liquida was asked to plan a new hotel design concept, a Casa do Conto, renovating a typical old Oporto House of the XIX Century. Before the inauguration on March 2009, a big fire destroyed the entire hotel, where only the façade and parts of the structural system remained up. The use of parts of the old building allowed to reduce the costs of time employing people working on the project. The new plan allows the house having maximum quality and performance in high tech material, mixed with the old ways of construction. For example, the walls decoration were done with a texture of cross wood patterns, plywood panels and corrugated steel, in order to have multiple textures with an unique multipurpose material.
The central staircase has a big skylight, typical way of having light in staircase in Portugal in the same position of the past one reducing the effort and the costs to do it in another place.
All the concrete skins that replace the old structure rephrase and referred to the existing one.
The ceiling is decorated by carved texts of authors that describe the story of the house, related to Oporto and Its architecture.
So the three R of this project can be:
Reuse: An old pre-existence like the XIX Century house, maintaining the as much as possible the pre-existence in its architectural qualities of space, like the structure and the architectural qualities of the space, rethinking about new ways of construction, but at the same time thinking about the traditional constructing ways and material preserving the idea and the concept behind a new way and method of perceiving space. Maintaining the strong and traditional character of the façade it can be used as a sign of recognition and fusion of new and old.
R-educe: Reducing all the costs in material and construction, using only one material such as the concrete in different ways and textures, all in loco and not prefabricating anything. Another point of reducing is having contact with Portuguese studios and enterprises in order not to spend for other countries enterprises. Reducing the variety of material in order to have high tech performances not only in construction, but also in systems and installations.
Recycle: Recycling as much as possible the used materials and the pre-existence, like the furnitures and the structure in order not to have waists of time in project and building, researching high quality with existent things, that in this case, can give a strong character to the architecture and be less in contrast with the neighbourhood.
[project selected by Silvia Giandoriggio]