Souto Moura hopes rehabilitation of library will boost Porto’s eastern area

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The architect Eduardo Souto Moura, responsible for the project to renovate and extend Porto’s Municipal Public Library, said today that he hoped the work would promote the development of the eastern part of the city.

At the presentation session for the project, which took place in the library’s reading room, Eduardo Souto Moura considered it to be “an iconic day”.

The architect explained to journalists that the new buildings to be built, especially the one facing Avenida Rodrigues de Freitas, seek to “find a scale in dialogue with the existing”, namely the palace and the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto.

As for the work, Eduardo Souto Moura said he believed that the new features would make it possible to diversify not only the library, but also the block where it is located, near the São Lázaro garden.

“I’m also interested in changing the city,” he said, recalling the dynamism and movement in that part of the city when he was an architecture student.

“Portugal’s finest flower used to be here and today it’s the opposite. São Lázaro is closed, the garden only has homeless people (…) and so the atmosphere of the library is not the most pleasant thing in the city,” he said.

He added: “I hope that this library will promote the development of an eastern part of the city that has been more neglected”.

Also speaking to journalists, the mayor, Rui Moreira, highlighted the library’s state of disrepair and its shortcomings, especially in terms of book storage.

“There were very good reasons to make this investment,” he said, adding that with the new project it will be possible to triple the deposit capacity.

Rui Moreira also assured that, during the closure of the equipment, “no researcher will be harmed” and that “no one will be prevented from accessing the collection”.

“We couldn’t do this work with the books inside. It wasn’t possible for safety reasons, it wasn’t possible because the work would certainly take twice as long, and because both the users and our workers wouldn’t have the slightest conditions,” he said, assuring that the workers will be distributed among various centers.

The Porto Municipal Public Library has around one million documents, equivalent to 27 kilometers of books and periodicals. Some of these documents, around 70,000, will be housed in the Almeida Garrett Municipal Library during the work and others will be held in custody.

The refurbishment contract includes the “total remodeling” of the building that has housed the Porto Municipal Public Library (BPMP) since 1842.

Although the library closes on April 1, the work is not due to start until December and will focus mainly on “remedying structural and constructive pathologies” and redistributing spaces with a view to “better organizing the operation of services”.

This project represents a municipal investment of 29.25 million euros, of which 26.5 million euros relates to the contract and the rest to the project and complementary studies.

Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert
Hervé Hubert is a 55-year-old writer and journalist based in Porto, Portugal. Born in France, he brings a unique blend of French and Portuguese perspectives to his work. Education Hervé studied Journalism and Literature at the University of Lyon in France. After completing his studies, he gained valuable experience working with various French media outlets (Portugal France also). Career He worked for several years as a journalist in France before making the move to Portugal. In Porto, he joined the Portugal Pulse team as a staff writer. Skills Hervé specializes in storytelling, investigative journalism, and cultural commentary. He has a flair for capturing complex issues in a relatable way. Personal Life He currently resides in Porto and enjoys the city's rich culture, from Fado music to Francesinha cuisine. Hervé continues to maintain strong ties to his French heritage, often traveling back to France for family visits and cultural exploration. With his unique background and diverse skill set, Hervé Hubert adds a layered, multicultural lens to every story he covers.

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