Historical rural architecture of North Portugal and Spanish Galicia: local vernacular forms and concept of adaptation, case study of Porreiras





vernacular architecture, Galicia, North Portugal, granaries, sustainable development, adaptive reuse


Vernacular forms which can be found in North Portugal and Galicia (region of Western Spain) can be traced down up until times, when this geographical area was bound together through Celtic influences. Wood, stone, and clay, used for local constructions, appear in many forms which are until now well preserved around the area. The main objective of research was to identify vernacular forms, focusing on granaries, commonly found in the study area, and creating the proposal of their reuse. Development and roots of those buildings is researched, showing their historical origin, locally sourced materials used in the region, as well as the state of the buildings nowadays and legal ways of their protection in Spain and Portugal. The base of the project was a village renewal concept which aims to adapt the ruins of unused agricultural settlements located in Porreiras for cultural tourism needs, with a proposal of reusing granaries as pilgrim units. Minimal intervention is made thanks to creating interior of a granary as a piece of furniture, filling, but not interfering with existing construction. Concept of safeguarding granaries through giving them new function is proposed to be implemented on Camino de Santiago tail, since the granaries are commonly found in rural landscape of North Portugal and Spanish Galicia.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Marta Orszt, University of Lisbon

Lisbon School of Architecture

Elżbieta Raszeja, University of the Arts in Poznań

Faculty of Architecture and Design


Correia, M., Carlos, G. (eds.). 2015a. Cultura sísmica local em Portugal/ Local seismic culture in Portugal. Editora Argumentum, Lisbon.

Correia, M., Lourenço, P. B., Varum, H. (eds.). 2015b. Seismic Retrofitting: Learning from Vernacular Architecture. CRC Press, Balkema, Taylor & Francis Group, London. https://doi.org/10.1201/b18856

Dai, T., Zheng, X., Yan, J. 2021. ‘Contradictory or aligned? The nexus between authenticity in heritage conservation and heritage tourism, and its impact on satisfaction.’ Habitat International, 107, 102307. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2020.102307

Decreto n.º 8/83, DR, I Série, n.º 19, de 24-01-1983. 1983. URL https://dre.tretas.org/dre/12126/decreto-8-83-de-24-de-janeiro (accessed 2 September 2021)

Díaz, P. C., Menéndez-Bueyes, L. R. 2018. ‘Culture and Society in Medieval Galicia. A Cultural Crossroads at the Edge of Europe.’ In J. D’Emilio (Ed.), La corónica: A Journal of Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, 47(1), 107-111. https://doi.org/10.1353/cor.2018.0018

Fathy, H. 2009. Arquitectura para os pobres - Uma experiencia no Egipto rural. Argumentum, Dinalivro, Lisbon.

Gouveia, S., Otero, L.A., Fernández-Costas, C., Filgueira, D., Sanromán, Á., Moldes, D. 2018. ‘Green Binder Based on Enzymatically Polymerized Eucalypt Kraft Lignin for Fiberboard Manufacturing: A Preliminary Study.’ Polymers, 10, 642. https://doi.org/10.3390/ polym10060642

Guillaud, H. 2013. ‘Cultural values of earthen architecture for sustainable development.’ In Carlos G., Rocha S Correia M., Vernacular heritage and Earthen Architecture for Sustainable development. Taylor & Francis Group, London.

ICOMOS New Zealand Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural Heritage Value 2010. URL: https://www.icomos.org/images/ DOCUMENTS/Charters/ICOMOS_NZ_Charter_2010_FINAL_11_Oct_2010.pdf

Lewis, M. 2014. ‘Building on Piles.’ In M. Correia, G. Carlos, S. Rocha (eds.), Vernacular Heritage and Earthen Architecture: Contributions for Sustainable Development. Taylor & Francis Group, London.

Majano-Majano, A., Lara-Bocanegra, A.J., Xavier, J., Morais, J. 2019. ‘Measuring the Cohesive Law in Mode I Loading of Eucalyptus globulus.’ Materials, 12, 23. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma12010023

Malinowski, B. 1935. Coral Garden and their Magic: A Study of the Methods of Tilling the Soil and Agricultural Rites in the Trobiand Islands. Allen & Unwin, London.

Mestre, V. 2013. ‘(Re)using adobe - from survey o conservation, from restoration to new construction.’ In M. Correia, G. Carlos, S. Rocha, Vernacular Heritage and Earthen Architecture: Contributions for Sustainable Development, Taylor & Francis Group, London.

Mileto, C., Vegas, F., Garcia, I., Cristini, V. 2015. Vernacular Architecture Towards a Sustainable Future. Taylor & Francis, London.

Niedźwiecka-Filipiak, I. 2009. Wyróżniki krajobrazu i architektury wsi Polski Południowo-Zachodniej. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Przyrodniczego we Wrocławiu, Wrocław.

Oliver, P. 2006. Built to meet needs, Cultural Issues of Vernacular Architecture. Taylor & Francis Group, London. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780080476308

Oliver, P. 1997. Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Ortega, J., Vasconcelos, G., Rodrigues, H., Correia, M., Lourenço, P. B. 2017. ‘Traditional earthquake resistant techniques for vernacular architecture and local seismic cultures: A literature review.’ Journal of Cultural Heritage, 27, 181–196. https://doi.org/10.1016/j. culher.2017.02.015

Pereira, N., Romao, X. 2016. Seismic Resistance of Portuguese Vernacular Architecture: A Critical Review. December. http://www.ceru-europa.pt

Petzet, M. 2008. Genius Loci – The Spirit of Monuments and Sites. In: 16th ICOMOS General Assembly and International Symposium: ‘Finding the spirit of place – between the tangible and the intangible’, 29 sept – 4 oct 2008, Quebec, Canada.

Prista, P. 2014. Terra Palha Cal / Earth Straw Lime; anthropological essays on vernacular building materials in Portugal. Argumentum, Lisbon.

Raszeja, E. 2013. Ochrona krajobrazu w procesie przekształceń obszarów wiejskich. Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Przyrodniczego, Poznań.

Salonia, P. 2016. ‘Tourism, Migration, Heritage, Culture, Inclusion: Recovering the Memory of Ourselves for the Sustainable Cities and the Society of the XXI Century.’ Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 223, 668–675. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.05.382

Seval, Ö. F. 2020. Types Of Serender In The Eastern Black Sea Local Architecture And Similar Architectural Structures In The World. 28, 525–546.

Sindicato Nacional dos Arquitectos. 1961. Arquitectura Popular em Portugal, Lisbon.

Teixeira, M. C. 2013. Arquitecturas do granito, arquitectura popular. Municipio Arcos de Valdevez, Arcos de Valdevez.

Uentealba, C., Salazar, J., Vega, J., Norambuena, J. 2016. A new biobased composite material using bark fibres Eucalyptus, University of Concepción, Chile.

Wijesuriya, G., Court, S. (Eds.). 2020. Traditional Knowledge Systems and the conservation and management of Asia’s heritage. ICCROM.




How to Cite

Orszt, M. and Raszeja, E. (2022) “Historical rural architecture of North Portugal and Spanish Galicia: local vernacular forms and concept of adaptation, case study of Porreiras”, VITRUVIO - International Journal of Architectural Technology and Sustainability, 7(2), pp. 46–59. doi: 10.4995/vitruvio-ijats.2022.18845.