A HISTORICAL-ARCHEOLOGICAL PRE-EXISTENCE RETURNED TO THE COMMUNITY
Recovery and Restoration of the Roman Boths in São Pedro do Sul, Portugal
João Mendes Ribeiro
The São Pedro do Sul Roman bath complex, dating back to the 1st century AD, despite being listed as a national monument in 1938, during the successive decades gradually slipped into a state of decay owing to a lack of maintenance. In 1995 a flood caused the collapse of the north-east façade. After winning the competition to restore the complex, the architect João Mendes Ribeiro developed a project that combines the care of a restorer with the ingenuity of the architect. When the project was finally completed in 2019, the community was once again offered access to a space that had remained off limits for years. The complex consists of two side by side rectangular volumes, whose linked ends define the elevation facing the river. The entry portal is set on axis with a bridge linking the two riverbanks. Two reflecting pools are situated to the left and right of this façade: the first is the original Natatio, surrounded by a peristyle, while the second is a cooling pond.