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Quinta de Santo António

Ameixoeira

The Quinta de Santo António estate is registered in the Municipal Heritage Inventory, of the Urban Master Plan for Lisbon and, partly due to its central location in Ameixoeira, the property was subject to vandalism when left empty. Currently, there is a request for restoration and planning permission that will not affect either the garden or the main residence and will take advantage of the 19th century romantic garden. Through a gateway cut into the wall and crowned by a pediment bearing a tile panel portraying Saint Anthony and dated to 1865, the entrance patio is accessed, rectangular in layout, paved in black and white cobblestones in rays issuing out from the centre. In this centre, there is a table serving as an ornamental feature and defining a geometry completed by two stairways descending down from a low level and enabling access to the garden further ahead. At a level above the centre of the support wall that circumscribes its extent, there is a small embrechados niche through which water trickles to enrich this first area. The house, with suburban and recreational habitation characteristics, is the result of a rural residence undergoing successive transformations and additions. These transformations, in conjunction with the lack of any specific architectonic typology, have hindered the dating process. With its origins potentially reaching back to the 17th century, the property went through the hands of different owners. Within the scope of its history, there were major building projects undertaken in the 19th century, and completed in 1865, in which the external work endowed the street facing facade with a better cared for appearance and contrasting with the simplicity of the remaining facades. In addition, more work took place between 1935 and 1942, with profound restoration work including the two tone bluish green stamped tiles, produced by the Viúva de Lamego Factory. The internal facades were also covered in stamped “crochet” pattern tiles. At the limit of the upper garden platform, there was a fence and pergola in iron standing upon pillars that were discovered inside a cistern during the course of restoration. This platform holds the beginnings of a romantic type shadow garden, typical of the 19th century, with a fountain of embrechados watering a small basin. In this garden, laid out in an L shape, there is an irregularly shaped lake with rocks forming its borders. The perpendicular wall is the most peculiar feature in the garden. It is covered by a waterfall entirely made up of set stones, with a mascaron at its centre and some small basins through which the water passes which, along with maidenhead ferns, forms a wall of greenery which, according to Luís António F. de Castro, was subject to repair by prince D. Luís Filipe. Right by the waterfall there is an iron pergola. In the wall establishing the north eastern garden boundary, there is another embrechados niche, larger in scale, and where the water runs between the shells (tridacnas) that sequentially grow in size. In accessing another walled patio, we find a well and cistern with a debit and a freshwater supply guaranteeing the supply to the farm, now restored romantic garden, in which the medley trees cast their shadow and waters run in the fountains. The largest surviving area of the estate is the former orchard, which is accessed via an opening in the wall close to the walled patio from where the main earthen thoroughfare begins which, according to the topographic survey of Lisbon by J. A. Vieira da Silva Pinto carried out between 1904 and 1911, was flanked by boxwood flowerbeds filled in by plants. In the centre, a large araucaria dominates the garden. There is also an octagonal lake with a small central spout with the finishing imitating rock over by the north-western limit. Here, the wall is interrupted by grating that served as a belvedere with wide ranging views out over the valley of Carriche and all the landscape shaped by the slopes of Loures. In this garden, there is also a circular dovecot, which was not restored, and the ruins of the pigsties and henhouses that represent a potential site for contemporary construction without encroaching upon the romantic garden. Following analysis and historical research on the estate, which represents one of a set of estates that were long ago founded in Ameixoeira due to the availability of water and the pleasure to be taken in the views, a survey of the existing hydraulic system was made before moving on to planning the restoration project. The aforementioned survey identified: a cistern under the entrance patio into which the pavement and roof rainwater drained, a mine with two galleries located 25 metres down the well located within the walled patio. With a year round flow, continuing even through August, the height of the mine varies between 1.5 and 3 metres and a length in excess of 50 metres with one approximate 10 metre long branch while only one of the galleries yields water in the peak of summer. The entranceway to the mine is normally under water due to the sheer quantity of water this well receives throughout the year and is the source for the entire hydraulic system. The intervention carried out incorporated strengthening the walls to limit the extent of break-ins and vandalism, recovering and cleaning the well and cistern that displays major accumulations of rubbish and in recovering the well water so as to supply the 19th century fountain and lakes and leaving the installation of a garden irrigation system sourced from the well until after the property’s development project. The proposed restoration project included the installation of a submersible pump in the well to lift the water as far as a hydropressure container installed in the cistern existing nearby before being transported onwards in an underground pipe 50mm in diameter distributing it to the lake, the cascade, the two embrechados niches and the irrigation system with five boxes placed for the future installation of the watering system. These boxes are fitted with the electric sockets for the permanent installation of electro-valves. All of these hydraulic system ornamental structures were equipped with surface dischargers enabling the water to be fed back to the well and hence be in constant circulation, with the exception of the inlaid shell niche in the entrance patio that feeds the adjacent cistern.
Technical Sheet- Landscape Architects

Project Coordination:
Cristina Castel-Branco

Project Assistance:
Bernardo de Magalhães e Menezes

Area: 5000 m2

Status: Built

Customer:
Ameixoeira S.A.

Date: 2010