The city of Coimbra is known for its cultural heritage, particularly its local university, one of the oldest academic institutions of the western world. For nearly a millennium the city has amassed a myriad of buildings. From the traditionally Portuguese ‘arquitetura chã’ with is austere lines, to the various baroque, romantic, and gothic constructions and churches throughout—a true statement of concomitant presences. To develop and provoke contemporary styles while co-existing with a resilient legacy is no easy feat.
Standing tall at a street junction, pulling all eyes towards itself is Redondo House, built in the beginning of the 20th Century and sporting an exciting round façade. The renovation task was left in the able hands of Branco-Delrio Arquitectos, and the duo introduced a well-considered balance between tradition and gallant minimalism. The three-storey building sports a dynamic programme, as the larger hall is connected on all sides by smaller rooms; resulting in a diverse cast of dedicated rooms. From private rooms to social areas, all areas showcase a cohesive and light visual design.
A very interesting insight of Redondo House is the harmony between the bygone era and the contemporary. In a bold move the architects decided to maintain original decorative wall mouldings, as well as classic doorways and details. The stylish manoeuvre comes into play when simple and airy interior design is the weapon of choice. As free-standing and modern-infused furniture takes centre stage, married to a neutral colour palette to promote visual unison. The non-interventionist approach impacts substantially until a visitor approaches the rooftop patio. The last floor pulls no punches as it embraces a true contemporary aesthetic. Sharp angles welcomes all visitors to a panoramic view of the city, blending outdoor and indoor with ease. The architects offered a truce on the residential area, only to offer a dramatic scheme at the very end of their story.
The foundation of the projects remains intact; all the while a minimalist ethos shines through the interior design and round edges. A true master class of restraint, as well as an impeccable showcase of Portuguese architecture.