Porto Botanical Garden

Authors: Nuno Valentim; Frederico Eça
Location: Porto, Portugal

General aspects: The project that is presented integrates the Botanical Garden in Porto and the new system of relations with its building, the Casa Andresen, the Casa Salabert and Franz Koepp greenhouses.
The last phase of works concluded in 2017, the Biodiversity Hall – part of the Museum of Natural History of the University of Porto.
The operation comprised the rehabilitation of Casa Salabert (former work house of the farm) and its conversion into the new e-learning café of the University of Porto, and the restauration of the Greenhouses conceived in the 60’s by Franz Koepp.

At Casa Andresen interventions were contained to critical aspects concerning programme and constructive system. The singularity of this building, exceptional in terms of space, natural light, scale and its relationship with its setting in the Botanical Gardens, along with the overall quality of construction and state of conservation, enabled an integration of these values in the renovation project – the future Biodiversity Hall, completing the set of Museums of The University of Porto.

The process of rehabilitation of the Casa Salabert started with a rigorous analysis, inspection and diagnosis of the sequence intervention carried out over time. Based on these studies/surveys, the project suppressed inadequate extensions and proposed return to the building’s form in 1925.
The primary structure in stone was maintained as well as secondary structures which still remained (wooden floors and rooves). Interior partitions were set free in order to create various study rooms, each with a specific atmosphere due to the pre-existence itself.

Why did you choose this category?: The centenary celebration of the University of Porto and the possibility of receiving the important international exhibition, “The Evolution of Darwin Life and Works”, provided this rehabilitation, extending the intervention to the greenhouses conceived in the 60s by Karl Franz Koepp.

Regarding Casa Andresen, the Programme essentially sought to:
– Solve the numerous pathologies, degradations and inadequate interventions carried out in the building over time;
– Set up a logical expository route solving vertical circulation (articulation between floors and accessibility for disabled citizens);
– Reformulate the indispensable functions of support to such equipment, such as sanitary facilities, cafeteria and technical areas;
– Improve the levels of infrastructural comfort (thermal, acoustic, safety, etc.).

Regarding Casa Salabert:
– A new programme was created: the e-learning café, an important complement for the University, an anchor that helps fix students; simultaneously, its setting at the Botanic Gardens of Porto is a way of attracting young people to the garden while creating such a special atmosphere to study;
– Six jobs (for students);
– Maintenance of construction and spatial features of the building, to make the most of domestic scale that existed;
– Demolishing restricted to buildings with no quality from the 80’s to 90’s.