9.8.2016

Hotel Douro, Eurostars

The intricate nature of the topography and the complexity and diversity of the buildings to be refurbished allow the hierarchization of three levels of intervention: the refurbishment of the multiple existing buildings, the construction of the new buildings and the allocation of the new hospitality-related programme in them.

Pedestrian tracks, car routes, riverside leisure areas and lookout points are also considered in the architecture project, as formal and constructive strategies for the touristic purpose of this former farm. The conceptual approach of inlaying the construction into the topography, results in partially balanced volumes that stand above the landscape, merged with their surroundings. This gesture allows the autochthonous vegetation to grow around the new constructions, maintaining the steepness that characterizes the shale terraces slopes of the region and reducing the possibility of mudslide events.

The new buildings aim for the decrease of the car routes and the meticulous landscape design is based on the reduction of non-natural elements. Altogether, these factors will enhance the natural hideaway character of the Douro region.

The orientation and visual frames are meticulously thought to improve the spatial experience. To this end, it is established a spatial hierarchy: the entrance, living, bar and leisure areas program occupy the existing buildings; the bedrooms, restaurant and spa are placed in green-roof one-story buildings balance above the Douro river to north and the landscape to west. The services and technical areas are below the ground level, buried in the slope.

The building presence is therefore only noticed in the particular situations where it is open towards the landscape, embracing it. The apartments are built alongside the slope as one-story townhouses. Due to the elements that contain the apartments entrances and stairs, it is possible to access the building through the level above, allowing the buildings to mimic the shape of the existing shale terraces and, in this way, be efficiently integrated into the landscape.

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The refurbished buildings maintain their original materials – the shale and the glass. The new buildings reaffirm the local identity by using again the shale and glass but making themselves contemporary by introducing the concrete and the “cappotto” system.

The project was partially concluded in 2011 as the apartments volumes are still to be constructed.

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