Hotel Villa Theatro em Braga com Arquitectura Arquitectos Aliados e fotografias de Ivo Tavares Studio

French chic under the Portuguese sun. Conversion of a townhouse in Braga

The comprehensive renovation of the Villa Theatro Hotel, located in the Portuguese city of Braga, was carried out by Atelier Arquitectos Aliados. The building’s original façade draws inspiration from early 20th century French architecture. Both this main landmark of the historic building and the other facades and interiors have regained their former splendour and please the eye as they did a century ago.

The building was originally designed at the beginning of the 20th century by the architect Moura Coutinho to house, among other things, a bakery on the ground floor and offices and flats on the upper floors. Over the years, the premises and the building itself have undergone transformations that have blurred the original layout and character of the building. At the beginning of the new century, Arquitectos Aliados was commissioned to design and coordinate a comprehensive renovation of the building, including the modernisation of the interiors for hotel use, while retaining the commercial premises on the ground floor.

The original façade, with its two distinctly asymmetrical lower floors contrasting with the symmetrical upper floors, draws its concept from the architecture of the early 19th century and the French style inspired by the architect Moura Coutinho during his travels along the Seine. Notable features include a plinth of local grey granite and a bas-relief frieze depicting winged figures inspired by Sumerian art, as well as a corridor leading to the shops and the building’s elegant entrance doors.

The first floor features a striking bay window and a set of three deeply set arched windows. Above, an almost plain wall with fairly simple joinery has been designed, and the top floor is decorated with a semi-colonnade and Parisian-style dormers. The roof is covered with the classic and popular terracotta tile in Portugal, instead of the zinc cladding used on Parisian roofs. The pink, grey and white shades of the original building have now been replaced by mustard yellow, ivory and creamy white. The rear façade has retained its symmetrical design yet contemporary character, which is also evident in the spatial and functional composition of the interiors.

A total of nine flats for short-term accommodation have been designed in the building, together with services and storage areas on the ground floor. Arquitectos Aliados was also responsible for all furnishings and fittings. The architects proposed a new staircase and lift (not envisaged in the original design), a large hall instead of the original two small ones, and the creation of a terrace on the first floor by slightly modifying the rear façade.

Work on the design and redevelopment of the Braga townhouse began in 2016 and was completed in 2022, after three years of proper works supervised by the Arquitectos Aliados team.

Project name: Villa Theatro
Design and interiors: Arquitectos Aliados
Location: Braga, Portugal
Total area: 960 sq m.
Photography: Ivo Tavares Studio

Also read: Architecture | Portugal | Tenement | Metamorphosis | Renovation

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