Casa de Chá da Boa Nova
The original Casa de Chá da Boa Nova was built between 1958 and 1963. It is Siza Vieira’s very first professional project.
In 1956 the City Council held a contest that was won by the Portuguese architect Fernando Távora. Once chosen the location on the cliffs, Távora delivered the project to his collaborator, the young architect Álvaro Siza to whom the final version belongs, becoming one of his first projects built and marking the beginning of his career. With this work Siza emphasizes the way initiated by Távora, to combine figures and materials of the traditional Portuguese architecture adapting them to the contemporary necessities. Set in a challenging topography, the building stands as a symbol of the identification of architectures with an active interpretation of the landscape. The composition of its low volumetric expressiveness and the surrounding rocks call for respectful attention, which has deteriorated over the years.
In this early project of Boa Nova all the signs of what was to be Siza’s distinctive way of approaching reality are presented, the whitewashed walls give life to the geological structure of the rocks, the foundations form the concrete base, the Walls come out from the rocks and the roof hugs the whole building, as to protect it or hold it firmly to the rock. All this is combined to show the architect’s sophisticated ability to impose modernity on nature or integrate it into the history of the place, with the least imperious gestures possible. “… Architects do not invent anything, they transform reality …” According to Álvaro Siza, this is his “guiding principle”.
Today, the Casa de Chá houses the restaurant Michelin starred chef Rui Paula. The former tea room was converted into a dining room and the original layout was changed so to fit more dining tables.