Brasileira Pestana – New hotel’s historic echoes
A magnificent new 90 bedroom 5 star hotel, A Brasileira Pestana – incorporating elements of an iconic historic building – has just been completed in Porto, Portugal.
The five storey hotel was created through the conversion and significant extension of a former much-loved coffee shop known as ‘A Brasileira’ – one of the most iconic in Porto, and replete with history and unique architectural and decorative elements, which have been retained and restored.
The main contractors were Mota-Engil and the architects were APEL.
Externally, the yellow-toned bevelled tiles of the existing façade and the floral design tiles on a set-back floor were retained, as well as a magnificent iron and glass canopy on Rua Sá da Bandeira. Internally, two of the building’s original dining spaces were also retained – the restaurant – designed by Architect Januário Godinho in 1938, and the coffee shop – designed by Architect Francisco de Oliveira Ferreira in 1903.
The top floor incorporates dormer windows and is finished in zinc – a material in keeping with the locality, as it is seen on the roofs of other properties in downtown Porto. The building also incorporates a central external light well leisure space with a vertical garden.
In addition to the 90 ensuite bedrooms, the hotel also includes a gymnasium, two meeting rooms and an external leisure space.
The bedrooms and suites are distributed across six floors, each being thematically tied one of the spices or products imported during the Portuguese maritime expansion in the 15th and 16th centuries. These include anise, coffee, cinnamon, tea, chocolate and pink pepper.
Maria Ginestal Machado, project architect at APEL said: “Throughout the construction work, and with on-going demolitions, unpredictable situations arose that affected the original plans, because the building, which was initially thought to be solid and sturdy, turned out to be fragile with a poor quality structure.
“Exhaustive studies were necessary to reach a solution in order to safeguard the façades and guarantee, not only the sustainability of the construction work, but the future performance of the building itself.
“Considering the work required to transform the original building into a five star hotel, the architectural project was a huge challenge right from the beginning!”