The rehabilitation of Casa Caldeira, located in the historic centre of Vila Nova de Foz Côa in Portugal, was done with careful attention to preserving the historic features. This project by architect Filipe Pina used traditional slate and shale as the main elements, to create a new contemporary home that still respects the city’s history.

The project brief was to transform the property into a single-family dwelling. Originally built at the end of the 19th century, the building over the years had been adapted and changed according to the needs of the former owners, particularly affecting the southern elevation. The different alterations had no architectural link with the original construction, although the slate thresholds were highlighted as the main coating applied on the shale-masonry structure.

Using these two notable elements of slate and shale, it was proposed that the space and elevation should be reconfigured, using the highlighted back, south-facing side as the new main elevation for the home, and keeping the original structure and traditional construction elements intact.

Without overlooking the historical value of the structure, the existing metalwork and granite masonry were covered on the northern and eastern sides, while new spans are opened south.

This left the shale ruins, exterior walls and their natural colours exposed for those living inside the house.

“We seek to work in the intimate relationship between the vernacular and the contemporary, a constant reflection of local experiences, where we try and experience people’s daily lives.” – Filipe Pina

In terms of construction, traditional solutions were chosen. Materials of natural origin were selected, such as lime-based plaster for the facades, wooden window frames and flooring, insulation with agglomerated cork on the floors and slate thresholds.

The house is situated on two floors, with the main entrance at the southern elevation on the ground floor. It is here that all the living and social areas are distributed. It is a connected space, bound only by the pre-existing inner walls of exposed shale masonry. On the first floor, the three bedrooms are arranged in a symmetrical design, with large windows overlooking the natural landscape of the region.

Project information
Architect: Filipe Pina of Filipe Pina Arquitectura.
Collaboration: Diana Cruz.
Location: Vila Nova de Foz Côa.
Date of completion: 2022.
Total area: 270m².
Architectural photographer: Ivo Tavares.

Issue: Rehabilitating an old building while keeping the historic authenticity of it.
Solution: Traditional elements and natural materials, such as slate and shale, were used to create a contemporary home that respects the history of the building.

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to for the information in this editorial.

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