Lisbon-based architecture firm Aurora Arquitectos has breathed new life into a former leather tannery in the capital of Portugal. Five years in the making, the recently completed apartment refurbishment project turns a single floor into three independent apartments covering a total area of 3,385 square feet. To celebrate the building’s original 18th-century architectural style, the architects applied elements of Pombaline design in their renovation, including modular elements and a pared-back aesthetic.

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hallway and doors

Dubbed the 3 Pombalino Apartments, the adaptive reuse project is located on the upper floor of a multi-story corner building. Inside, the floor plan wraps around a central staircase with a large light-filled void. The architects preserved the majority of the existing walls and added additional walls and doors to split the open spaces into smaller rooms. Each apartment features a unique layout and is fitted with two bedrooms and two bathrooms as well as a hall, kitchen, storage, living room and dining space.

dining room and kitchen

dining room and kitchen

“When this space was refurbished and divided into 3 apartments, the following principles were adopted: To maintain the pre-modern logic of circulation between rooms, without any corridors or small distribution spaces, adapt the intervention to the existing partitioning, and decrease the need for demolitions, so that the integrity of the existing structure is preserved,” explain Aurora Arquitectos.

dining room


Related: Derelict property transformed into a vibrant, sunny hostel in Portugal

Elements of the Pombalino Style, an 18th-century architectural style that defined buildings in Lisbon after 1755, had been scrubbed away from the space due to “aggressive” industrial use by the former leather tannery. The architects sought to restore the Pombalino interior architecture and so focused on introducing sparsely decorated spaces, modular construction and an emphasis on windows and doors as “the main elements of the architectonic characterization.” The architects add: “This way, the identity of the common space is composed by the sum of the individual parts.”

+ Aurora Arquitectos

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