aires mateus renovates 16th century church building for portugal's university of coimbra
 

aires mateus renovates 16th century church building for portugal's university of coimbra

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

aires mateus renovates 16th century church building for portugal's university of coimbra
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.

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