Salabert House, new e-learning cafe at the Botanical Garden

Rua do Campo Alegre 134, Porto


Nuno Valentim, Frederico Eça, Margarida Carvalho

Luís Mendonça (sculpture)

Prémio Nacional de Reabilitação Urbana 2016
Honorable Mention at Prémio João de Almada 2017
Work selected for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2019
International Architecture Awards 2019

41.153814, -8.642533

Salabert House is located in Porto’s Botanical Garden and was one of the first buildings inside the original farm. In the successive processes of adaptation to the new programmes, Salabert House has undergone several alterations and extensions that have profoundly transformed it, removing elements of architectural value. Some constructive components remained from the original construction, that the proposal sought to integrate/articulate in the new programme – the University’s new study/e-learning space.

On the basis of a careful process of analysis, inspection and diagnosis and of critical readings of the processes of intervention in the Salabert House, the dissonant extensions and those without constructive quality were eliminated, proposing that the House should return to its state in 1925 (documented in the UP archives).

Without altering the primary structure (stone masonry) and the secondary structures that still remained (wooden structures of some floors and roof), the interior spaces were freed up for the various study rooms – with distinct environments provided by the architectural and construction characteristics of the pre-existence itself.

Naturally, this space was equipped with contemporary infrastructures (heating/cooling, ventilation, accessibility, lighting, thermal insulation, etc.) that allowed the immediate occupation by the students – almost without publicity, the occupation rate of the Salabert House is extraordinary, proving that the academic community feels good and immediately recognised the extraordinary privilege of studying and socialising with colleagues in a historical space, with heritage value and exceptional landscape setting.