Type: Transformation and expansion of a health care facilities
Client: Private
Location: Aveiro, Portugal
Status: ongoing
Project Author: Maria Fradinho
Team: Cristina Paião, Daniel Antunes, Sara Garcia

Project Date: 2022 – ongoing
Plot Area:  221 m2
Implantation Area:  176 m2
Construction Area:  562 m2
3D Artist: Tiago Vieira da Silva

Anima is located in a historical place of the city of Aveiro, as it is part of the limits of the medieval city, located at the western edge of the old Medieval Wall, next to Porta de Rabães. In this place there was also a main tower called Torre de Rabães. It was like a “small castle” that had a strong presence in the profile of the medieval city. Today, remains of these medieval buildings can be found in place.

The project changes and expands an existing residential building, with the aim of giving it the necessary characteristics to install a mental health service. It is proposed to demolish the building’s roof, to meet programmatic requirements, as well as the portion of the facade built in 1984, which is not considered to have a historic character, leaving the original volume untouched, which dates back to 1878.

The original building achieved the objective of creating a more refined proposal, with facades plastered and painted in beige. The decorative composition of the facade of the original building presents extra care in order to rehabilitate and conserve the existing building heritage and guarantee its architectural interpretation.
Highlights include the pre-existing granite stonework and the new corten-colored aluminum frames of the windows, the division of the floors by a frieze, and the finishing of the building which is made by the cornice. The finish is also flanked by volutes which, in the rear elevation, will be carefully replicated.

The original building stands out in the formal composition due to its charismatic image in comparison with the sophistication of the new body that is intended to be expanded, as it will admit an undeniable contemporary language. The new intervention allows for a uniform tone and materiality, with rhythm being created through a metallic structure in vertical sheets, in Corten color, which function as a second skin and allow the building to be characterized as semi-transparent.
The rhythm acquired by the strategically designed openings is a gesture that mimics the conventionality and proportion of the openings of the local facades, through a game of open and closed, which respects the scale of the openings of neighboring buildings, making the appropriate landscape insertion into the reality of that urban area.

The dichotomy between the programmatic need and the need to keep the archaeological remains uncovered, imposes the construction of the body on the West side, in addition to the exterior negative, separating the building into two bodies, where the courtyard is configured as part of the building complex, being the connection link between the two volumes, united by an open space, occupied only by the archaeological remains and the memory of what was the area where the Torre de Rabães was located.

The remains of the old medieval wall are returned to the city, as the fence at the end of this courtyard, which connects the public to the private space, is made using metal sheets, creating a physical barrier with visual permeability, contributing to the respect of such elements as a memory of the human condition and the collective history.
Part of the gable of the neighboring building, which is adjacent to the central courtyard, will be covered with a vertical garden, allowing the courtyard to have a natural configuration of a true garden, providing a quality landscape environment to that space, serving as a green area for relaxation and contemplation, fundamental to the enjoyment of the mental health center.