Luisa Bebiano & Atelier do Corvo's Renovation of the Old Ceramic Society of Coimbra 18th Century Building | Yellowtrace

Luisa Bebiano & Atelier do Corvo's Renovation of the Old Ceramic Society of Coimbra 18th Century Building | Yellowtrace

Luisa Bebiano & Atelier do Corvo's Renovation of the Old Ceramic Society of Coimbra 18th Century Building | Yellowtrace

Luisa Bebiano And Atelier Do Corvo Renovation Old Ceramic Society Of Coimbra 18th Century Building | Yellowtrace

Luisa Bebiano & Atelier do Corvo's Renovation of the Old Ceramic Society of Coimbra 18th Century Building | Yellowtrace

Luisa Bebiano & Atelier do Corvo's Renovation of the Old Ceramic Society of Coimbra 18th Century Building | Yellowtrace

Luisa Bebiano & Atelier do Corvo's Renovation of the Old Ceramic Society of Coimbra 18th Century Building | Yellowtrace

 

A Unesco World Cultural Heritage site, the medieval city of Coimbra in Portugal has a history or handmade ceramics due to its clay-rich soil terrain. Set in an 18th Century building, the Old Ceramic Society is one of few remaining ceramics factories in the area and has been recently revamped by Luisa Bebiano Arquitectos and Atelier do Corvo.

As the only original factory still in operation, the architects made sure to preserve heritage features that play an important role in the local industrial archeology. Beyond repairing production facilities, Bebiano and do Corvo added areas for pottery display and a restaurant, inviting the public to immerse themselves in the history of the place.

“It was imperative recovering, preserving and recontextualizing its heritage, renovating the building and equipping it with museological conditions to expose its heritage, while keeping its unique production,” the architects explain.

 

Luisa Bebiano & Atelier do Corvo's Renovation of the Old Ceramic Society of Coimbra 18th Century Building | Yellowtrace

Luisa Bebiano & Atelier do Corvo's Renovation of the Old Ceramic Society of Coimbra 18th Century Building | Yellowtrace

Luisa Bebiano And Atelier Do Corvo Renovation Old Ceramic Society Of Coimbra 18th Century Building | Yellowtrace

Luisa Bebiano & Atelier do Corvo's Renovation of the Old Ceramic Society of Coimbra 18th Century Building | Yellowtrace

Luisa Bebiano & Atelier do Corvo's Renovation of the Old Ceramic Society of Coimbra 18th Century Building | Yellowtrace

 

While certain structural elements such as the roof had to be completely replaced due to degradation, the exterior brick facades remain traditional, clad with plaster and slacked lime and finished with a manual trowel. Large chimneys from the old kilns act as natural ventilation ducts, expelling heat or retaining it when kept closed.

“The conservation and restoration approach was based on a non-intrusive minimal intervention strategy, allowing a constructive and functional interpretation of the unit, leaving the manufacturing marks visible,” says Bebiano and do Corvo.

Though retaining most of the historical internal structure, the architects divided the factory into two levels. On the ground floor, a pottery workshop is run for visitors, their unfinished pieces displayed across open shelves and pine floors. Heavy original timber beams and old stone walls are exposed, allowing a quaint old-timey feel to pervade.

On the same floor as the kilns is a cozy restaurant, which leans into a timber cabin aesthetic with a working wood burner, timber tables and glowing suspension lamps.

 

 


[Images courtesy of Atelier do Corvo & Luisa Bebiano Arquitectura. Photography by do mal o menos.]

 

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