Rua das Flores II

Materials and Shapes

Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Teaser Rua das Flores (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Idealization of material layers at Casa dos Ferrazes Bravos (2022) by Tiago CruzFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Materials. Shapes. Textures. Colors.

Stone, wood, iron and tiles helped to draft Rua das Flores. The use, substitution or overlay of materials allowed the buildings to be updated and modernised, adapting them to new requirements and tastes and resulting in a substantial range of forms.

Armorial Stone of the Sousa (of Arronches) and Silva at the house in Rua das Flores (Porto) (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Armorial Stone of the Sousa (of Arronches) and Silva

The history of this street is also told through the stone. The characteristics of the granite grain (more or less fine), the frames of the openings, the carving quality of the constructive, decorative and/or symbolic elements evoke the social and economic nature of earlier owners.

Armorial Stone of the Sousa (of Arronches) and Silva

The stone ties names to places. Families such as the Sousa e Silva immortalised their coats of arms in their noble houses. The inscriptions that accompany them allow us to locate, in time, different construction stages or interventions in the building.

Light apertures in Rua das Flores (Porto) (2022) by Marisa SantosFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Light apertures in Rua das Flores (Porto)

Wood was used to provide fencing or security elements, such as railings or balcony guardrails. They guaranteed a lighter and more economical solution, although less durable, which required repairs and repainting or even complete material replacements.

Wooden door with geometric carvings (Rua das Flores, Porto), Cátia Oliveira, 2022, From the collection of: Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto
,
Wooden door with carving and cast iron pediment (Rua das Flores, Porto), Cátia Oliveira, 2022, From the collection of: Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto
Show lessRead more

Doors and windows protect the houses’ inside space from the weather and dangers from outside. They also act as spatial delimiters, separating the public and private spheres. The use of wood endures, resisting substitution by more resistant, metallic materials.

Windows and wooden balcony doors (Rua das Flores, Porto) (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Wooden windows and doors (Rua das Flores, Porto)

In Rua das Flores, wooden window frames have been preserved to the present day, including examples with delicate woodwork and carvings. These usually floral decorative elements are applied to the transoms and casements of windows and balcony doors.

Wooden balcony doors (Rua de Trás, Porto), Boletim Cultural da Câmara Municipal do Porto, 1938, From the collection of: Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto
,
Wooden balcony (Rua dos Caldeireiros, Porto), Boletim Cultural da Câmara Municipal do Porto, 1938, From the collection of: Faculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto
Show lessRead more

Throughout the 20th century, balconies with granite, wooden and iron railings coexisted in Rua das Flores. Due to a more demanding maintenance, the wooden guards have been disappearing, and the diversity of materials and techniques that characterized this place is vanishing.

(In)conspicuous window (Rua das Flores, Porto) (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

(In)conspicuous window 

The advent of cast iron at the end of the 19th century contributed to the renovation of old structures at a low cost and in an industrialised format. Allied to glass, it allowed wide crystalline surfaces that opened up the shop to the public space, attracting the eye of the passers-by.  

Iron was used on a large scale on façades, balcony guardrails, railings and urban equipment (lighting pillars) and, more discreetly, on doorposts, mailboxes and advertising boards. It thus conquered a privileged place in the public space.

Trademark of the Fundição Francos (Rua das Flores, Porto) (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Brand of the Fundição Francos 

The names of the city's best-known cast iron foundries are signalled through the signets visible on the various iron structures: Fundição do Bolhão, Massarelos, Vitória e Francos, among others. The shapes and carefully designed decorations enhance the elegance of the architecture.

Three-colour embossed tile (Rua das Flores, Porto) (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Embossed tile 

The façades feature embossed tiles, in two or three colours, as well as monochromatic bevelled tiles. Some of these models were widely spread by local factories, such as Devesas or Carvalhinho. The tiles are identitary elements of the city.

Blue and white embossed tile (Rua das Flores, Porto) (2022) by Marisa SantosFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Blue and white embossed tile 

Ceramic tiles have transformed the appearance of façades through colour, brilliance, texture and image. At a relatively affordable cost, old and new buildings have been given a new interior and/or exterior garment.

Façade of the Papelaria Araújo e Sobrinho 

Figurative tile panels also still exist in this street. Such is the case of the one in the historic Papelaria (stationery shop) Araújo e Sobrinho, signed in 1906 by the painters Carlos Branco and Silvestro Silvestri, who worked for the Fábrica do Carvalhinho.

Fachada da Papelaria Araújo e Sobrinho (Largo de São Domingos, Porto) (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

Façade of the Papelaria Araújo e Sobrinho 

The decorative language of the panel alludes directly to the products sold inside.

The trading activity is symbolised by the allegorical representation of Mercury, the classical deity who protected travellers and merchants.

A watching eye (Rua de Afonso Martins Alho, Porto) (2022) by Cátia OliveiraFaculty of Arts and Humanities of University of Porto

A watching eye 

Traditional wooden, stone, iron and tile forms coexist with contemporary artistic manifestations, giving this street its own signature. Rua das Flores configures an urban landscape marked by temporal layers full of uses and meanings.

Credits: Story



EXHIBITION COORDINATORS AND SCIENTIFIC COMMISSION
: Ana Cristina Sousa (FLUP/CITCEM) & Maria Leonor Botelho (FLUP/CITCEM)

CURATORSHIP: Ana Cristina Sousa (FLUP/CITCEM) & Maria Leonor Botelho  (FLUP/CITCEM).

PRODUCTION & CONTENTS: Cátia Oliveira, Cecília Cardoso, Diana Felícia, Diogo Teixeira, José Ferreira e Silva, Marisa Pereira Santos e Tiago Cruz.

SPONSORS: FLUP; CITCEM; MMIPO.

TRANSLATION:  Raquel Viúla Faria (financed by National Funds through the FCT under the project UIDB/04059/2020).

REFERENCES:
AURORA, Conde de (1967). Varandas, janelas, postigos e outros ferros da cidade do Porto. Porto: Boletim Cultura/Câmara Municipal do Porto. Vol. 30, fasc. 1/2 (Fev./Mar. 1967) – p. 163-176.

LOPES, Nuno Valentim Rodrigues (2006). Reabilitação de caixilharias de madeira em edifícios do século XIX e início do século XX. Porto: FEUP. Tese de Mestrado.

SEGURADO, João Emílio dos Santos (19--). Trabalhos de carpintaria civil. Lisboa: Bibliotheca de Instrucção Profissional.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Wonders of Portugal
By train or by coach, discover Portugal's wonders and hidden gems
View theme
Google apps