Hotel Minho renewal and extension
The main inspirations were breathed in the Portuguese and Scandinavian modern architecture and their design of the 60’s, as well as on the local vernacular architecture of the region. International names as Arne Jacobsen, Sigurd Lewerentz, Alvar Aalto and local architects as Arménio Losa, Januário Godinho and Álvaro Siza, have strong direct and indirect influence in the work.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
Hotel Minho renewal and extension project starts from a building constructed in 2006, now renovated with new public areas and spa. The extension was designed to be very simple and in some spaces, highly introverted, retaining the existing structures and introducing the main new areas in the floors below the guests entrance.
Pursuing a stronger relation with the site, local materials, constructive traditions and vernacular architectonic icons, the new extension used locally sourced chestnut wood as one of the main features. This material, naturally abundant in the surroundings, is used as the retainer of the new programs, being responsible for creating the limits of the new spaces. These wood boxes are the new element of organization, creating the layout, the mood and the tone for the interior and exterior design, stating a strong continuity between every single floor. In the top of the main spa building, one can see the special suites volume as an “espigueiro” – the traditional grain store - a strong and direct reference to local vernacular architecture, here contemporarily shaped into the new hotel design and layout.
Hotel Minho and sustainability:
The design pursued the best urban integration of the new building, having in mind the minimal impact of the construction and the best relation with the surrounding natural elements. Therefore, the extension eliminates the negative impact of the precarious existing buildings and installations located in the west limit of the hotel, introducing a more sensitive design, highly related to the surroundings and the landscape. Despite being added with almost 2.000 m², the new building decreases to the highest level the visual impact of the construction. On this regard, the main reference is the green roof, planted with sedum, a large genus of flowering plants commonly known as stonecrops, a plant with strong leafs and high water-storing properties, that favour the low maintenance of the roof and here used as one of the main features.
The wood - used as the core element of the extension - is sourced in local forests, all certificated by FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and with the chain of custody of PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification).
The other keys questions addressed are the necessary water and energy efficiency. On the first one, a new system of rainwater collection is used to provide the gardens irrigation system and the green roof drip irrigation, as well as bathrooms, locker and treatment rooms, and the daily refill of the inner swimming pools. On the second one, solar hot water is extensively used for showers and the pools. Together with the new hardware, the project introduced a new layer of external insulation (ETICS system) to the existing building, elevating its consumption efficiency.
More info at www.virgulai.com
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The new spa introduced on the ground floor is the core area of the extension, introducing to the users a multiple experience while staying at the hotel. The design, proves to be extremely efficient, using the natural light, creating the right mood for the hosts and reiventing the hotel to a new public.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
Hotel Minho - 41° 58’33.1’’N 8°41’01.6’’W
The hotel is located in Vila Meã a parish of Vila Nova de Cerveira, a municipality in the district of Viana do Castelo in the north of Portugal. Between the river and the mountain, Vila Nova de Cerveira is located on the left bank of Minho river, which establishes the border with Spain and it is located 22kmfrom the sea. The municipality has 76% of its area bellow 300 meters height.
The climatic conditions are temperate (14.8° C annual average temperature), with long rain periods during winter (1278mm average annual precipitation). July usually is the driest and hottest month, December the rainiest and January the coldest. The average temperature difference between the two peaks of temperature of the year is 10°C. The prevailing winds on site are the ones coming from North-east and South-west (56% of the year).
The project and construction started in the beginning of 2010 and was ended in the middle of 2014.
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The wood used in all Hotel Minho construction items – interior and exterior cladding, ceilings, furniture, sign system – is Iberian chestnut wood, a common one in the northeast of the Iberian Peninsula. The project invested in having the right balance between this main material and the other ones, always neutral and based on a white palette. Among these, white Carrara marble was used both in walls and flooring, as well in some special items such as suspended lamps, counters and washbasins. White walls, white lacquered panels, glass and mirrors were frequently used to accentuate the neutral element facing wood. The rest is up to the furniture and all the remaining decorative items.
On this matter, besides the numerous items developed by the studio (more than 20 products, repeated to a total of 131 pieces), the project used many vintage items collected from local stores, re-manufactured important furniture design items left behind such as the Pousada easy chair (1951) by Januário Godinho, and used many contemporary and modern products in accordance with the same principles: warm, elegant and efficient design.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Areas: Site: 10.560m2
Renewal: 520m2 – social areas
Extension: 908m2 - spa; 226m2 - new social areas; 425m2 - business floor; 340m2 - technical and mechanical areas;
Hotel Architecture, Architecture, Design, Vírgula i, Sustainability, Interior Design
The project rejected the new latest trends of hotel design, allowing itself to be more connect with the client needs. The hotel and their users were the main elements of study to achive the renewal and to design the extension.
The main challenge was to put in practice the theoretical knowledge of such a small and inexperienced studio, formed by architects recently graduated from university. Despite their respect-full work experience, it was their first medium scale experience, being therefore an unprecedented challenge to this young studio.
TEAM MEMBERS (4) :
JP Pereira, Pedro Guedes, Teresa Aguiar and Leonor Macedo
Eva Sousa and Nélson Garrido