Vale das Flores Apartment

2022, PT

This project for the renovation of a two bedroom apartment in Coimbra, Portugal, is an exercise in economic light touch refurbishment. The existing 75m² property is part of a block of apartments built in the early 2000s and has had, over the years, multiple occupants on a rental basis. The stone clad building has a reinforced concrete frame structure, with hollow brick masonry walls, both internal and external. The interiors are composed of plastered walls and ceilings, and display elements of pastiche ornamentation such as plaster cornices, as commonly found in buildings of that period. The apparent divergence between spatial layout and structural grid reveals the location of multiple structural elements expressed as downstand beams, wall recesses and protruding columns. Such elements have been left untouched, as remnants of the original spatial complexity.

Location: Coimbra, PT
Status: Completed 2022
Client: Private
Area: 75m²

Works to the apartment, which was starting to show signs of disrepair, have included the installation of two new shower rooms, the general repainting of walls and ceilings and the onsite painting of all existing woodwork such as skirting boards and door panels. Existing elements in good condition have been retained, including toilets, door ironmongery and existing kitchen which is to be upgraded at a later stage. New light fittings have been introduced throughout.

The intervention is based upon the careful setting out of the strictly necessary standard off-the-shelf components, as well as the use of traditional construction techniques. This aims to respond effectively to budget and time constraints. Readily available materials and an elemental tonal range have been adopted to create a soft harmonious atmosphere. Ceramic, mirror and painted surfaces come together through subtle variations in texture. From start to completion, the fast track construction process took three weeks on site.