Quinta do Buraco – Mill Rehabilitation
YEAR2016 - 2017
LOCATIONPortugal, Oliveira de Azeméis
In Quinta do Buraco – which was once larger than it is today – there was a water mill.
To the north, a dike diverts water from the River Antuã across a weir towards the six millstones.
It’s a large Mill, which makes us think that the output of flour and grain must have been considerable.
But the abandonment of the estate and its buildings led total ruin and neglect.
For more than twenty years we have been restoring the Quinta do Buraco.
Starting with the agricultural part, so as to tame the wildness:
We built three houses and the outbuildings required for the agricultural activities.
Walls and dikes were reinforced and sluices were built.
We try to controll the river.
The types of plants and trees were diversified and the agricultural activity intensified.
The number of animal species was also increased to try to achieve balance and recovery.
Little by little, the Quinta has improved and it promises to get even better.
Now we will deal with the ruins, beginning with the Mill.
Grain is no longer produced in the Quinta, so the refurbishment of the mill would be absurd, as it would have no practical purpose.
Our preference was to re-store it for seasonal or temporary accommodation.
Almost everything that remained was kept.
The existing walls were restored. Gaps and roofs were filled with timber structures.
The intention was to create a single space, sub-divided by walls to create private areas or provide for services.
The openings in the stone walls were maintained and they give the space its character, due to the streams of light which penetrate these small windows.
Where there were no walls, large windows were made to connect the inside with the outside and give life the interior space.
The original stone, the additional timber and the slate slab roof give the Mill, as the building continues to be known, its material character.
The setting remains rural as most of its surroundings are either agriculture or forestry.
We almost forget that we are in dwelling place.
Water continues to flow under the building, through three split level channels and through the small water trough at the upper level, reminding us of the old workings of the mill and giving both inside and outside, the incessant music of running water.
How good it is to sleep wrapped up in the sounds of the waterfall and to wake surrounded by a mist, knowing that the fire is lit and providing essential comfort in this rural setting.
A little bucolic.