|Abstract: ||This Communication addresses the issue of reconstruction and rehabilitation of architectural heritage in archaeological context from two Portuguese examples.
The first example is the Roman baths of Conimbriga, located in the municipality of Condeixa-a-Nova, in the center of the Portuguese territory where once stood the Romanized city of Conimbriga.
The early thermal suite was built in 10 B.C., in the Augustan period, that was later completely ruined and replaced with a new bath, which doubled its area in the Flavian time, between 70 and 80 A.D. Excavated between 1959 to 1971, the referred bath just opened to public fruition 25 years later, in 2006, after an architectural intervention that sought to answer clear objectives: firstly to understand and preserve the excavated remains and after to respond to a functional program considered appropriate.
This intervention was materialized through a minimum and easy reversibility restoration, the creation of business means consistent with the preservation of these remains and the adaptation of new outdoor spaces reconstituted to achieve various features.
The second example is constituted by the old Covela house, located in Baião, on the north bank of the Douro River, in northern Portugal.
The Covela house was implemented in the northeastern natural face amphitheater that defined its property, facing the Douro River, in response to a clear scenic intention, which was acceded through a winding path that seems to have been the result of the combination of several buildings, given its fragmented nature and the diversity of architectural elements.
Faced with the intention to not complete the building, either for lack of elements, or even by very strong doubt that it has ever been completed at this location; as well as the desire to maintain their value and beauty, while ruin, it was decided that would be used a contemporary architectural language, with pitched roofs, to establish a volumetric ratio harmonic with the pre-existence, which solves the problem of ambiguity in the interpretation of the monument.
The solution seeks to materialize, by evoking a possible volumetry, a contemporary language that seeks the combination of the various existing fragments, giving them unity without voiding its fragmented nature, in order to establish it with an analog harmony.
From the three values assigned to the architectural heritage, which are the documentary or historical value, architectural and meaning, the ruin has lost much of its architectural value, kept the documental and changed the meaning, constituting its main specificity.
Most of the time this new meaning value comes from the fact that it has lost its architectural value, making it a ruin.
Rarely it is recognized in ruin the “implicit vitality,” spoken by Brandi, or the “virtual shape”, referred by Grassi, the condition considered necessary to promote their rehabilitation, while spatial and functional structure; which leads to architectural intervention, in most cases, limited to increasing the levels of understanding of the monument and only to guarantee their protection and public enjoyment.
This is what happened in the first example presented here and not in the second.|