Branco Del Rio
An “unstable balance”
Coímbra, PT

Branco Del Rio is an architecture studio based in Coimbra, founded by Paula del Rio and João Branco. Since their founding, they have been deeply involved in projects of various scales, seeking and encouraging solutions that elevate their relationship with space. From their flexible office space in Coimbra, they are constantly working with clients who share their respect for the architectural profession.

 

Every day a challenge

We are a very small practice of 4 people, so our organisation is quite horizontal. We are all very committed to work, and everybody assumed full responsibility for it. We are always experiencing new ways of organising ourselves in order to respond to everyday challenges. 

We are also involved in teaching here in the Coimbra Department of Architecture (Darq) and maintain an intense academic research activity. We spend our days constantly moving between work sites, university and the office, together with managing our children and family life. Sometimes it feels like every day is a challenge, but we manage to keep things in an unstable balance. 

 

Adapting with big tables

After years of constantly moving, we have recently managed to build our own office, a space conceived especially for our work. It consists of two identical rooms with a big table each and a lot of storage space where we can finally organise all the objects that keep growing: models, drawings, books, material samples, projects. The office space itself tells a lot about the way we work: materiality is raw, and shows the way it is constructed. Also, big tables offer great flexibility, adapting to momentaneous needs, allowing us to constantly change from meeting space to drawing or model making. 

 

Competitions and exciting programmes

Our goal was always just to build, and it was not easy in the beginning, when the crisis paralysed the construction market. We started with houses, mainly refurbishing and rehabilitations. Over time we got the chance to access bigger projects such as collective housing and public space. We recently won our first competition: two social housing buildings, and we are quite excited with that opportunity. We always try to find time for competitions when we have the chance and the programme is exciting.

 

Resisting mindless scaling

Insofar as setting goals for the future, we would like to only work with clients that respect architecture, and our work.  For us this is more important than scale, because we don’t feel we need to grow the office or get a lot of new projects. Achieving this, it becomes easier to make well-built, sustainable, accessible and beautiful buildings, where we ourselves would want to spend time in. It is a hard goal, but with every finished building we feel we are a little closer to getting there.

01 PROFILE Frederico Martinho paula del rio

Photography Federico Martinho

02 STUDIO BrancodelRio paula del rio

Photography Courtesy of Branco del Rio

03 CONCENTRICO 01 EduardoNascimento paula del rio

Photography Eduardo Nascimento

04 BUILDING SITE BrancodelRio paula del rio

Photography Courtesy of Branco del Rio

05 BUILDING SITE BrancodelRio paula del rio

 

Photography Courtesy of Branco del Rio






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