a nacional, aliados



“To restore a building is not to preserve it, to repair it or to remake it, it is to restore it to a state of fullness that may have not existed at any time.”

Eugène Violet-le-Duc


The building of the “A Nacional” Insurance Company, by the architect Marques da Silva, underwent several changes that distorted the quality of the original 1919 solution. The opportunity of rehabilitation of the building comes from the initiative of the client to modify its office function into housing.

In the exterior of the building there is a composition and decorative system of beaux-arts matrix, and the interior space reveals a surprising functionality and rationality: you circulate through galleries and bridges that cross the central void, illuminated and zenithally ventilated; floors, of repetitive plan, are interconnected by a transparent lift with surrounding staircase. It is the spatial apologia of the modern office, using reinforced concrete in a pragmatic construction.

Given this pre-existence value, the current project focuses on the surgical design of infrastructures - which is fixed in change - introducing flexibility and programmatic reversibility. An update of uses for infrastructure, a contemporary retaking of the original design.

The programmatic updating of offices for housing is achieved in a readjustment of the interior subdivision. Respecting the logic of a repetitive plan, upright service centres are proposed where all the necessary nfrastructures are surgically concentrated.

In transforming the typology into housing, special attention is paid to the decorum and protection of the contact spaces between the interior of the house and the collective of the atrium, drawing fixed furniture using a curved line, which promotes spatial fluidity in an approximation to the language of the time.

Project 2017 - 2023

Client Real Added Value PN - Fundo de Investimento Imobiliário Fechado

Location Oporto, Portugal

Area 3.520 m²

Architecture Cristina Guedes and Francisco Vieira de Campos

Project Team Ana Pinheiro, Carla Lourenço, Juliet Wolf, Inês Mesquita, Gonçalo Castro, Inês Batista, Andrea Fornasiero, Inês Giro, Rodrigo Alves

Prior Report Gabriella Casella - Cariátides, Lda

Structures António Adão da Fonseca - Adão da Fonseca, Engenheiros Consultores

Hydraulics Alexandra Vicente - Vertente Rabisco, Lda

Electrics and Telecomunication Raul Serafim - AFA Consult, Lda

Fire Safety Systems Maria da Luz Santiago - AFA Consult, Lda

Acoustics Rui Ribeiro - Amplitude Acoustics

Heating Raul Bessa - GET Lda

Photography Francisco Oliveira (photo 2, 3, 4, 5, 6); Annachiara Fiorucci (photo 7, 8)