lisbon-based architecture studio aires mateus has completed the renovation of a vacant building in portugal that had been left in a severe state of disrepair. located in coimbra, an urban center nicknamed ‘the city of students’, construction work on the original ‘holy trinity college’ began in the mid-16th century. the structure — photographed here by nelson garrido — comprises a church in addition to functional areas needed for student accommodation and teaching.

aires mateus trinity college renovation
all images by nelson garrido

 

 

led by brothers manuel and francisco, aires mateus began the renovation by carrying out a study of the site’s heritage and historical values. as the building forms part of the university of coimbra, a public institution with origins that date back to the 13th century, its architecture had undergone many changes over the years. the design team sought keep the project’s ‘eternal’ elements, including its great walls and domes, while replacing the ‘ephemeral’ components with a new steel structural system.

aires mateus trinity college renovation
the historic site dates back to the 16th century

 

 

one feature that was retained was the doorway, which was completed around 1630. this entrance is framed by two pairs of doric columns set on pedestals, and is crowned with a symbolic cross pattée. internally, the scheme’s pared down aesthetic highlights other historic features throughout the renovation, with the building’s centerpiece — the church — completely restored.

aires mateus trinity college renovation
the building’s centerpiece — its church — has been completely restored

aires mateus trinity college renovation
the design team differentiated between the structure’s ‘eternal’ and ‘ephemeral’ elements

aires mateus trinity college renovation
the symbolic cross pattée is found throughout the building

aires mateus trinity college renovation
the renovation seeks to bring in as much natural light as possible

aires mateus trinity college renovation
the pared down aesthetic highlights specific historical features

aires mateus trinity college renovation
the redesign incorporates a dramatic play of mass and void

aires mateus trinity college renovation
aires mateus’ siganture white finishes are found throughout

aires mateus trinity college renovation
new materials are sympathetic to the original stone components

aires mateus trinity college renovation
the building forms part of an institution that dates back to the 13th century


an aerial view of the restored site

 

 

project info:

 

name: renovation of the trinity college – european college
client: universidade de coimbra
location: coimbra, portugal
construction: 2014-2016
surface area: 1,910 sqm
building area: 4,093 sqm
site area: 2,300 sqm
authors: manuel and francisco aires mateus
project leader: susana rodrigues
collaborators: valentino capelo sousa, patrícia marques, mariana barbosa mateus, joana carmo simões, vânia fernandes, olga sanina, sara nobre
engineer: BETAR, GPEC trofa, JOULE, josé galvão teles
constructor: veiga lopes S.A.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    architecture news