The project “Quinta das Virtudes” was developed at an early stage by the following landscape architects: Cláudio Folha, Filipe Silva and Tiago Ortega in the context of the subject of Cultural Landscapes Project in the fourth year of Landscape Architecture course in the Faculty of Science of University of Porto in 2011.
This year, this project was chosen for a re-design, with the objective of proposing an intervention to the Oporto City Council. The proposal aims to requalify and potentialize the “Quinta das Virtudes” which is located in the town of Miragaia in Oporto, which has an area of 1.2 hectares. It´s construction dates back to the eighteenth century. This space is a pillar in the History of Horticulture in Portugal, representing an attractive research site, surviving generations, and growing with great innovation.
Unfortunately, nowadays this scenario is practically omitted and consigned to forgetfulness, with only the memory of better days. It’s structure is composed of a valley docked in ledges, with a cultural and heritage landmark that depicts a representative period of Portuguese Horticulture, and marks a time of great growth in the country’s development and horticultural knowledge level.
It is important to refer that in XIX century Europe is in full discovery and innovation, it is a period of international exhibitions, being one of them in 1865, when Portugal receives the first international exhibition held in Oporto. The exhibition received several international and national exhibitors, José Marques Loureiro being among them and standing out with an award. This award generated many international contacts and partnerships with landscape gardeners as Emile David, but mostly knowledge and passion by plants, the same passion that makes Marques Loureiro one of the greater horticulturalist ever in the country, establishing the “Quinta das Virtudes” an exhibitor of excellence.
This place in other times was considered the largest Horto of the country associated with the figure of Marques Loureiro. Being the supplier for the Real House and a developer of knowledge to various known figures in garden design. Marques Loureiro created a legacy that still endures and that continued over the years through his Horto. During a remarkable period, and in addition to this historic/cultural potential the “Quinta das Virtudes” still has a great landscape and artistic interest due to its ideal location with a breathtaking view over the Douro River, which gives it great sunshine and a point of view over the city.
Thus, the proposed recovery aims to reconstruct and perpetuate two periods that marked the city of Oporto, this was the essential factor for positioning Marques Loureiro in the context of the Portuguese Horticulture. This recovery is materialized in consistency throughout the whole space, preserving the walls and water system, as well as, all elements notorious for its unique value, which exemplify all crucial points and gave meaning to the “Quinta das Virtudes”. At the same time creating dynamism and fluidity, as well as different visual axes in a typology between spaces yielding various sensory experiences. Therefore, it is intended that this work can recover forgotten identity of this place that was a milestone in the history of Oporto, so often overlooked and unknown by many.
Quinta das Virtudes | Porto Portugal | Cláudio Folha and Filipe Silva
Text and Image Credit | Cláudio Folha and Filipe Silva