A Writers’ Retreat

As new buildings that incorporate good design to benefit education and culture seem to be rare in times of recession, The Style Examiner decided to cast his eyes on a completed project that remains an excellent example of how good architecture can contribute to the dissemination of knowledge and creativity.

Located in the University town of Coimbra, Portugal, the ‘Casa da Escrita’ (or, literally, House of Writing), used to be the home of the poet João Cochofel (1919-1982) before it received funding to be converted by architect and set designer João Mendes Ribeiro into a writer’s retreat.

The Casa, located on a hill of the old part of the town and inserted in a dense urban set of predominantly residential narrow winding cobbled streets, the refurbished space now houses an elegant and functional literary archive, writing quarters and temporary accommodation for practicing writers.

The interior was restored with great sensitivity, revealing the decorative ceilings and corniced walls of the historic house, while the rooms, some of which are divided by rotating walls that serves as bookshelves, are filled with polished wooden furniture. The open archive is located in the attic of the house, where lines of desks provide workstations for researchers.