A work of unique beauty – Thalia or Laranjeiras Theater
In this article we recall what was considered one of the most emblematic spaces by the Lisbon elites in the 19th century.
Built in 1820, Thalia Theater or Laranjeiras was rebuilt and renovated in 1842, according to a project by architect Fortunato Lodi. In 1862, the theater was practically destroyed by a fire, and only the façade was spared. However, and already in the 21st century, Gonçalo Byrne and Barbas Lopes restored the building in a unique way.
Prudêncio’s team is working hard and carefully to preserve this structure, so that it may continue to be appreciated, while preserving its current function.
Located in Complexo das Laranjeiras, Thalia Theater is a 19th century building that has been restored by the General Secretariat for Education and Science.
This theater, named after the muse of comedy in Greek mythology, has even seen the royal family. Besides, it was responsible for the eccentric reputation of its owner: Joaquim Pedro Quintela, the Count of Farrobo.
Built in 1820, Thalia became, in the decades that followed, a reference of cultural and social life. Despite being a small private theater, it hosted emblematic names of the time.
This theater, with its ballroom covered with venetian mirrors, was the stage for lavish parties organized by the Count of Farrobo, who was passionate about music and the performing arts.
Outside, the main façade had a peristyle supported by four white marble columns, extending into four pedestals on which were sphinxes. The pediment was triangular, with a smooth tympanum, with a sculpture of Eratus, the muse of lyric poetry, holding a lyre in her left hand. In this area could be read the following phrase: “Hic Mores Hominum Castigantur” (“Here shall the customs of men be punished”).
Who was the Count of Farrobo?
Joaquim Pedro Quintela was born in the family palace, at rua do Alecrim, in 1801. He played the double bass, cello and horn.
A patron of the arts, the Count of Farrobo distinguished himself at other levels and was an important figure in the country’s political destiny. He was also an attentive businessman, always looking for the latest novelties of the time. In fact, Laranjeiras Palace had gas lighting two decades before the city itself.
A supporter of D. Pedro, Joaquim Pedro Quintela used his fortune to finance the liberal struggles. But in 1831, he didn’t want to contribute to a forced loan that D. Miguel decreed, so he withdrew all his securities. However, they were later returned with D. Pedro’s victory, to which he added the title of Count of Farrobo.
With businesses in several areas, the Count of Farrobo reportedly spent a lot of money on parties and a lavish lifestyle. However, his downfall came thanks to a commercial dispute over the tobacco monopoly, which dragged on for decades in the courts.
Almost 150 years abandoned
Quinta das Laranjeiras was eventually sold at public auction in 1874, after the Count’s death in 1869. Since then, it has been passing from hand to hand. Although the palace still underwent some conservation work, the Thalia Theater was left abandoned.
In 1940, the palace was bought by the Ministry of Colonies, with the purpose of being the headquarters of the Navy Museum. It eventually housed several ministries until it came into the possession of the General Secretariat of Education and Science, which, in 2010, launched the project to renovate the theater.
With the architectural project by Gonçalo Byrne, Patrícia Barbas and Diogo Lopes, the original façade, which was still standing, was restored. Inside, the already crumbling walls of what will have been the stage and the audience were kept and a new body of the building was constructed, in terracotta concrete, which frames what remains of the original construction.
Currently, the Thalia Theater serves as a stage for events from public or private institutions. The Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra, for example, organizes monthly concerts here.
Given the particularities of this work and what it represents, a testing phase was implemented, currently performed by Prudêncio and monitored by LNEC.
The main goal was to assess the feasibility of proceeding to an integral intervention in the original stone walls of the monument.
Rising damp: how to identify, combat and eliminate
What it is
Rising damp, very common in old buildings (and beyond), can be defined as the vertical flow of water that manages to rise from the ground – through the phenomenon of capillarity – to a permeable structure.
Capillarity, in turn, refers to the rising of water through pipes, or capillaries, and is what happens on the floor and at the base of walls in houses that have poor waterproofing between the floor and the ground.
How to identify
Rising damp usually takes the form of indoor or outdoor stains on floors and walls. Inside, these can form saltpetre or can cause mold to appear.
Outside, there is the possibility of moss appearing. This type of moisture is easily distinguishable, namely by the extent of the wall it can affect and the fact that it can rise up to about 1.5 meters in height.
How to combat and eliminate
The only and great solution to combat and eliminate rising damp is waterproofing. Taking into account that this type of humidity is difficult to solve, the best thing to do is to contact professionals specialised in this type of cases, such as Prudêncio, to waterproof the foundation elements, walls and pillars that have direct contact with the ground.
Rely on Prudêncio to combat rising damp on your site
At Prudêncio, we apply Koster‘s patented resin system that, by creating a horizontal barrier, successfully and permanently stops rising damp, namely by sealing the capillaries.
Ask for an expert diagnosis. Contact us.