Architects: Bruno Dias arquitectura
Project: Watermill on The Crags of Saint Simon
Location: Fragas São Simão, Figueiró dos Vinhos, Portugal
Area: 55.0 m2
Project Year 2016
Photography: Hugo Santos Silva
Downstream, just a few miles from the spring of the Alge creek, two imposing cliff faces appear, massive walls ripped by creek and time alike! The Watermill Crags of Saint Simon are imposing indeed, and of unmatched beauty. Refreshed by the crystal-clear waters of the creek and its distinctive vegetation, they bestow upon the place a magical feeling of peace and tranquillity, where nature and humankind become one. The sound of the running water and birds, the solemnity of the rock faces provide those enjoying the location with an unforgettable encounter with nature.
One hikes down the path, once opened by the strength of bare arms with the help of a mule, to set off on a journey through time … finding, at the feet of the crags, where creek and margins blend, an old inactive watermill and an oven which used to bake bread with the wheat and corn flour straight from the grindstones!
This local lodging project is born out of the respect of the existing language, and aims to requalify the constructions and their context, faithfully respecting, as much as possible, its past use.
The development was cost-limited, aiming to maximize reuse existing elements of the mill. Therefore, the project is focused on a resolution of the interior, by using a single-material covering: pinewood, one of the natural elements of the region. External interventions are limited to window frames (replaced by new double-glazed wooden frames) and thermal improvements to the roof. Internal spaces are drawn per their function, their lighting and with a purpose of well-being. Four distinct spaces were created: rest, hygiene, meals, and leisure. The combined result is increased thermal comfort of the building and better potential for its use.
The target audience is of middle or upper-middle socioeconomic class, both nationals and foreigners. This is a place of refuge, for blending with nature, with the comfort and expectations of modern living.
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