Quinta da Francelha

Prior Velho

The Quinta da Francelha estate hydraulic system was built at the end of the 18th century. Originally, there would have been a well fitted with a bull powered noria to lift the water with clay pots attached to a wheel serving as the water buckets. The noria, a device of Moorish origins, was active through to the beginning of the 20th century when it was replaced by an America frame windmill or a more modern American sail mill, which still stands over the well but deactivated since the end of the 20th century. After being raised, the water was tipped into channels supported by pillars and, carried by an aqueduct and entering the structure of the house and then along to the Chafariz da Castelhana fountain spring, where there is also a cistern. This, in addition to feeding the adjoining water feature is thought to have also supplied the olive press, also in an adjoining building. The aqueduct furthermore carried the water as far as the fields and the lake with a small embrechados cascade.
The vegetable garden, at a lower level, was irrigated by water, after extraction from the well, stored at ground level, in the large tank. There is also currently an electric pump stored in the well for both lifting the water and distributing it through the underground system of piping.
Following the characterisation and evaluation of the outer spaces and the systems existing in Quinta da Francelha, various intervention priorities were put forward with the owners opting to improve the rainwater drainage from the entrance patio, the main garden, the south of the house and the new west limit to the estate, which integrates the orchard. The ACB project planning team also proposed the restoration of the boxwood garden to the north of the house where the embrechados fountain, built with oyster shells, had lain disused for decades.
On the enormous patio entrance the existing drainage system was surveyed and charted enabling the identification that poor performance stemmed from a lack of inclination preventing the normal run off of water and correspondingly proposing its replacement and an increase in the number of gutters.
In order to drain the garden, right by the south facade of the house, where the terrain displayed a series of slopes and channelling the water towards the building to infiltrate the facade, a small ditch was dug in this area to catch any rainwater from the road and any runoff from the garden and channel it towards the gutter found at a lower level. This drain discharges into the underground pipes that originate by the entrance patio and lead off to the far west of the estate where a drainage duct was installed with a geo-drain from one end to another and channelling the water to a box located at the north end of the estate.
The owners also expressed interest in the restoration of the small embrechados cascade dating to the late 18th century which had not had any water supply ever since the aqueduct fell out of use. For the restoration of this set, the connections between the aqueduct and the spouts were replaced with a pump installed to bring about the re-circulation of water to avoid wastage as well as the replacement of stones and oysters where missing or broken.
Technical Sheet- Landscape Architects

Project Coordination:
Cristina Castel-Branco

Project Assistance:
Inês Sampaio Fontes

Area: 16 300 m2

Status: Built

Eng. Francisco Patrício

Date: 2010