Year: 2021
Local: Sá da Bandeira Street, Porto
Intervention: collective housing

The Emporium building, built in 1949 by the architect José Porto, one of the disciples of the well known architect Marques da Silva, stands out for its large façade facing Sá da Bandeira street and the corner that it forms with Guedes de Azevedo street. Consisting of three atriums with independent access to the upper floors for housing and offices. The intervention will be carried out in only two of the accesses: one by Sá da Bandeira and the other by Guedes de Azevedo. As for the ground floors, they are commercial and restaurant establishments, namely the historic “Confeitaria Cunha”, partially designed in the early 70’s by the architects Victor Palla and Bento d’Almeida. The building also has access to public parking, with the respective vertical accesses to the upper floors. In this case, there is a solution of offices, sanitary installations and housing distributed by an internal gallery.

Sá da Bandeira street, started in mid-1836, is one of the most emblematic street in the city of Porto. There was an intervention in 1842, which disappeared the access to Porta dos Carros and Santo António street, and the construction began along the road. The continuation and continuous growth was followed, until the present day, with the recent connection to Rua de Gonçalo Cristóvão.

The aim of the project is to fully maintain the design of the architect José Porto. Consisting of the rehabilitation of the existing housing, including, however, the current living characteristics, namely comfort; and the conversion of the current offices into housing, distributed among typologies that attract and retain high-quality permanent residences. In the natural development of the project, it was necessary to make circumstantial changes, avoiding, however, colliding with the foundations of the existing morphology. Thus, the changes in the architectural project increase the residential quality and recover the dignity of the building, of patrimony heritage, comprising a better offer for excellent housing, with considerable areas and the addition of parking spaces necessary for housing in the city center and in the enhancement of the building’s backyard space, where a garden was built.

When accessing Guedes de Azevedo street, the intention foresees the complete restoration of the existing apartments, adding a complete bathroom, in order to provide the apartments with better conditions of habitability.

By common accesses, T3 apartments are distributed with areas between 130m2 and 150m2 (with the entrances in “left / right”).

As for the building with access from Sá da Bandeira street, the old offices were transformed in excellent housing through the creation of apartments with areas between 100m2 and 150m2, established in typologies of T2 and T3 and T1 typology over 70m2.

Still on the integration proposal, the construction of a new parking floor, interlevelled in a ceiling height of 5.80 m, seeking to resolve issues related to housing needs, being also an asset to the city centre, since, within the private scope, the solution enables better conditions for the building, responding to the residents’ parking needs.

In the existing cover and green slab over the garage floors, the proposal makes it possible to improve the space of the back patio, providing for its dignification, contributing significantly to the ‘interior’ of the city. This solution enables the building and all those who can benefit from this green space, namely neighboring buildings and users of retail and restaurant services. The solution, therefore, seeks to create a vegetative atmosphere, promoting the creation of different green spaces, with big sclale plant pots and platforms distributed at different levels for use of condominium owners, freeing the interior of the block that was previously over-built and unhealthy.

Even so, the proposal to create this ‘green space’ brings with it the reinforcement of the existing structure on the lower floors of the garage, contributing to the structural improvement of the entire building.

3D Model: Lezita Simas
Landscape Architecture: Paulo Palha
Architecture: Duarte Morais Soares
MSA team: Ana Maria Feijão
Photo: Lara Jacinto