Cascais Music Conservatory

Cascais Music Conservatory, Cascais, Portugal, ARX Portugal Arquitectos
Project year: 2007
Address: Av. Acácias 81, 2765-389 Estoril, CASCAIS, Portugal
Latitude/Longitude: 38.70626505198067,-9.404544409091967


The City of Cascais and Oeiras Music School and Chamber Orchestra headquarters stays at the old building of the Boaventura boarding house, located at downtown Monte Estoril, municipality of Cascais. It is a building from the beginning of the 20th century, intended for a single-family residence, known as “Chalet Madalena”. The house fills almost the totality of the centre of the lot, which came to extend south with the purchase of the next land-lot, which in its turn was only occupied by a magnificent palm-tree field.

We chose to preserve the existing house and its relations to the land, not so much because of its architectonical traits, which are modest, but because it obeys a characteristic typology of the Estoril area, whose specimens are being demolished and replaced by big apartment or office buildings which fill the totality of their lots, not leaving any room for garden areas and blocking visual interaction.

The interior of the house was totally rebuilt, respecting the cruciform typology of the original house’s spatial distribution, but adapted to the actual necessities. The majority of the rooms of the new programme is small and designed for the teaching of music, individually or in small groups. This trait also leads us to respond to the decisive acoustic constraints.

The construction of the new multi-use room, of larger proportions, destined to rehearsals and orchestra concerts, was made by simply extending the stone foundations of the original house to the palm-tree field. Its geometry matches the response to the visual circumstances of the surroundings by framing the environment in an intense relation with the garden. It also secures the specific acoustic demands and allows, at the side of the lot, for the passage of a new street accessing the parking area.

The roof is now an outside balcony for leisure, a natural extension of the interior space of the old chalet, articulated with the garden.

Text description provided by the architects.

Project team: Paulo Rocha, João Rodrigues, Gonçalo Azevedo, Pedro Sousa, Sónia Luz, Tânia Pedro, Bruno Gonçalves, João Dantas
Landscape architecture: F&C, Arquitectura Paisagista Lda.
Structural engineering: SAFRE, Estudos e Projectos de Engenharia Lda.

Contributed by ARX Portugal Arquitectos