An “irreverent” restructuring, Second skin, danielmsantos, eng + arq

Restructuring Second skin danielmsantos eng arq photo credits Ivo Tavares
An “irreverent” restructuring, Second skin, danielmsantos, eng + arq it has been modified: 2023-02-18 di Benedetto Fiori

The renovation of the old building in Figueira da Foz has been a great success. The renovation was carried out by the danielmsantos architecture and engineering studio, which managed to maintain the identity of the old building and at the same time give it a new, more daring and irreverent spirit. The recovery project of the building, which once housed the municipal services, was conceived by the architect Pedro Daniel Santos, who accepted the challenge of preserving the beauty and history of the building and, at the same time, adapting it to the new needs.

The building, which is located near the Mondego River, has been redesigned in a bold architectural language that combines the ancient and the modern, creating a new building that preserves the past and looks to the future. Copper was chosen as a connecting element between the old and the new and is found throughout, enveloping the building in bold, angular forms.

One of the most evident elements of the renovation is the "bubble", which protrudes onto the patio. This element, which represents the most visible part of the intervention, was designed to become the new entrance to the building and serves as reception and main office. The renovation improved the accessibility of the building, making it more accessible to people with disabilities and creating a new parking lot with an electric vehicle charging station.

Inside, the building has been redesigned to meet new needs for the use of space. Although the changes have been radical, the renovation has been carried out with great attention to the preservation of the historical aspect of the building. For example, the original building techniques have been maintained and restored, such as the extraordinary plaster ceilings and marble-effect walls.

For an adequate use of the second floor, the roof was slightly raised in the peripheral areas (the crest kept the same level), so that, in addition to rationalizing the use of the existing space with the use of the attic of the roof between the roof windows, the interconnection between the old and the new was promoted, giving a contemporary look to the building without interfering with the surrounding urban landscape.

Internally, the intervention has adapted the building to the new concept of use. Despite being profound, with a new organization of the internal areas and the creation of new values, the intervention has tried to be minimalist, in a subtle fusion between the contemporary, usability and preservation of the timeless character of the building.

The original aspects and building techniques, sometimes exuberant, sometimes artisanal, now gain a new stage with the conservation and recovery of the impressive plaster ceilings that adorn the entire first floor, the marble-effect paintings in the corridors or the wall partition, now a feature wall in one of the toilets. The interior color palette has been intentionally chosen to simultaneously create an environment conducive to work and highlight the eclectic collection of artwork and furniture that punctuates the various spaces of the building.

The building, which already had a close relationship with light, now gains a new luminosity, achieved not only with subtle features, but also with the impressive extension of the new intervention and the choice of materials and colours.

In summary, the renovation of the Figueira da Foz building was an example of how architecture can preserve the past while creating something new, bold and contemporary at the same time. The intervention was able to enhance the historical heritage of the building, adapting it to the needs of the present and the future.

project info

Project name: Second skins.
Architecture Office: danielmsantos, eng + arq
Main Architect: Pedro Daniel Santos


Location: Figueira da Foz
Year of conclusion: 2021
total area: 1320
Architectural photographer: Ivo Tavares Studio

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