Photos: Duccio Malagamba
Conversion of the Estoi Palace into a Charm Hotel
The Estoi Palace is located in Southern Portugal, Algarve, and it was built during the late XVIII century. The upper part of the Palace rests on an artificial platform, clearly built, as part of a complex topographical and landscape project where one denotes the Illuminist logic, from the succession of gardens arranged in different levels and along several axes with their centre in the Palace, to the work of capturing the water, which develops in a series of small aqueducts, drains into a waterfall, and follows to irrigate the orchards and the stables, and, finally, in the architectural composition itself, in the spatial sequence of the noble halls, the chapel, and of the lateral wings.
Although spatially interesting and easy to transform into a hotel, the Palace’s available area was not enough for the program proposed by the client, and the addition of a new part was inevitable. The project of the new wing follows the topographical arrangement of the gardens: the level of the Western suspended garden is extended in terraces on three levels and the retaining walls give birth to the rooms, which in their turn are like walled holes open onto the landscape.
With this gesture, we sought to simultaneously highlight the dignity of the Palace (where are located all the living areas of the new hotel: lounges, restaurants and main accesses to the exterior terraces) and its spatial qualities, reinforcing its centrality in the general composition and its relationship with the gardens, of which it is a structuring part. Another intervention replicates the volume on the other side, where the reception is located (the bell tower works as a hinge marking the entrance) and a huge window denounces the relationship with the landscape. The new wing is built to have an eminently landscaped presence when viewed from the Palace and adjacent gardens. Indeed, either by form or by materials (stone and garden coverings), the aim is to interpret it as an “inhabited” garden.