Académico Futebol Clube is a sports club based in Porto that, since 1927, has its headquarters in Palacete do Lima, built in the XIX century. This two-storey building preserves the essence of its original features on the main floor, but needs deep maintenance and refurbishment work. On the ground floor where, among other services, there is a bar, the pronounced deterioration is noticeable. The consequences of decades of heavy use and lack of maintenance, can only be solved with profound renewal work.
However, the limited financial resources of the club, insufficient for a thorough rehabilitation work, led to a lighter solution, one that doesn’t jeopardize subsequent structural interventions.
Space wise, the bar and the service area were moved to a more interior area, while the main room now features natural lightning, consequence of a privileged relationship with the exterior.
Initially, the implementation of a new deck and a wall panel system were the expected structural changes. The panels were the chosen solution to cover the discordant existing coatings – plasters of various textures and colors, from different types of tile. These create a new coating layer, delaying the necessary of an in-depth rehabilitation work.
Meanwhile, we faced the necessity to remove a portion of the pavement which was broken and was, therefore, not suitable to support the new one. This removal led to the discovery of another floor - underneath the first one - in reasonable condition.
Additionally, two other coatings in different compartments were revealed: a baked clay tile area with about 30x30cm and 4 cm thick, very irregular and broken, and a shale floor, with plates of considerable dimensions (some even 1.5m wide), with irregular surfaces, applied directly on the ground. This pavement is surely the original floor from what may have been a service area, supporting a dining room that is thought to have existed on this floor during its use as housing. However, as these smaller areas did not meet the conditions to be maintained, they were removed and stored for later use.
After analyzing the possibilities that these findings brought, we opted for the maintenance and complete treatment of the original flooring, while filling the above mentioned untreatable areas with a yellow cementitious material.
The walls were partially covered with natural wood fiber panels, which were recorded with drawings representative of the various sports that Académico has been winning nationwide. These panels housed an artificial lighting solution through a line of light at their top, which uniformly illuminates the entire space.
The main room ceiling was in acceptable condition and was left untouched, while the remaining were recovered. However, in one area, the testimony of an unfortunate episode of the building - a fire in 1982 – was proposedly left visible through an open cut on the ceiling.
The rehabilitation or remodeling work of existing spaces and buildings feature variants that an original project can not anticipate. They are, therefore, work experiences that carry a stronger underlying story. In this particular case, the successive layers of Palacete do Lima were revealed. These layers aren´t just stacks of different materials, they’re the testimony of the successive eras of the club that it loyally serves for more than a century.