Acting on the belief that the contemporary performance of the colonial legacy today offers a site for renegotiation and dialogue pertinent to local and global communities, the confrontation of seemingly contradictory aspects within heritage – on one side heritage that should be a collective right and on the other side its private management – is a tool for work. This dual aspect of the work means articulation of public and personal interests, as interwoven responsibilities. The simplicity of the architectural program offered by the house in the past, is a way towards the legitimisation of its spaces today: a vernacular, constructive culture connected to the concurrence of migration, its artisanal colonial tradition and its confrontation with the natural and original world of the colony.

Visiting, working or living in the Sobrado na Ladeira implicate a relationship between historical and contemporary elements, and the possibility of developing an expanded perspective of experiencing and interacting with local culture.

The Loft – sleeping, eating, living, working

An 80 square-meter loft apartment, set on the top floor of this two-story historical house includes a kitchen, a bathroom, 1 double bed, a working table, a daybed, a cupboard for clothes, a wooden chest, WIFI, a garden, and an indoor and an outdoor veranda that can be used as a studio.

Street level space – The atelier - working, actions, interaction

The original commercial floor of the house – space at street level is now converted into a two-room atelier. It can be used as workshop, atelier and exhibition space. The direct contact with the street gives the opportunity to work more openly, and propose subtle actions in the space.

The garden and surrounding outdoor area

Through the contemporary architectural program, drawn by Brasil Arquitetura, in action, the historical ladeira will gain a more visible connection to the garden through a covered promenade bordering the back of the house. Here a range of collective activities are envisioned, opening up an expanded cultural/historical/contemporary relationship between ladeira and sobrado

different forms of sharing and learning



Layers of gestural interaction, engender agency between the historical house, artistic practice and the digging afresh of meanings, rhythms of interaction. Grounded on the premise that the colonial house can enact a form of insurgence through experiences and forms of daily living in and with its heritage, residencies recharge possibilities to share, penetrate, learn, live, experience, validate and legitimise its historic matter in contemporaneity. 


dynamic of knowledge

Transforming the house into a place for knowledge production means understanding knowledge as a process of being in, listening, dialoguing and reflecting. Through this, the aim is to rebind the meaning of heritage, shaping a contemporary community that draws bridges between the times of the house and the world today. Forms-of-life are thus explored at and through the Sobrado house, generating insight and dialogue for the Sobrado as well as other sites and practices.


public acts and gatherings, conversations and study sessions, archival actions, or walks

The practice involves collecting documents and oral narratives, as sources for articulation of local biographies. Allowing for the mapping of affinity and reciprocity zones between material and immaterial heritage. These acts are connected to walks, talks and gatherings, where different sharing and learning structures organise. Local biographies, as well as archival processes, allow for the development of the historical background of the Sobrado house and its setting. Expanding through the storytelling of the house, local people, and dialogues beyond site, means history and micro-history come together, today.


applied restoration rounds

Volume and character, found in its past matrix, are mapped and applied through preservation work, local manual knowledge and vernacular building traditions. In practice this means the collation and activation of vernacular building traditions and local artisans as a process of engagement. This generates space for pedagogical structures where others feel ownership to the place by getting to know it by hand

architecture that supports culture

A global project for the house and surrounding areas is ongoing. The architectural project undertaken in phases since 2016, is developed by Brasil Arquitetura and values the historical character of the house and its settings, whilst bridging it to the contemporary.

The interventions aim to support the cultural program envisioned for the Sobrado, strengthening how inter-cultural relationships enrich, reiterate and expand the dimension of local and the relevance of local for today´s societies.


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