Rodrigues de Freitas Lower and Upper Secondary School
The current Rodrigues de Freitas school was established in 1906 under the name Lyceu Nacional Central in the 2nd Porto School District.
Initially housed in provisional premises dispersed throughout the city, since 1933 it has occupied its present building next to the Cedofeita church, which was first opened as a grammar school under the name Dom Manuel II.
The building was designed by José Marques da Silva with a capacity for 1,000 students. It was built between 1927 and 1933, although some works continued until 1939. From 1956 to 1958 it was remodelled according to a project by Fernandes da Sá that involved the addition of a new floor of classrooms to the west body and adaptations to the north and south bodies, bringing its capacity up to 1,500 students.
The school consists of one single building, with a main façade, the layout of which is carefully adapted to the topography of the site. The general plan, quadrangular in base and symmetrical in composition, defines four bodies and four closed patios. The central, dominant volume, which borders directly on the south side of Pedro Nunes square, surrounds the largest patio. It exhibits an art deco taste in the design of the accessories and architectural ornamentation. In functional terms, the school reflects a long, continuous process of adaptation to changes in the curriculum and teaching methods over time.
The modernisation project for this former grammar school created the conditions for the building to adapt to new educational demands and to simultaneously integrate the Porto Music Conservatory.
The lower and upper secondary school occupies the east wing of the building and part of the north and central bodies and the conservatory occupies the west wing.
The central body is shared by the two institutions and houses laboratories, gymnasiums and social and informal learning spaces.
The intervention entailed reinforcing some facilities and installations, adapting spaces to new activities, making improvements in line with today’s environmental comfort standards and correcting deficiencies caused by the wear of materials or their inadequacy to meet the new demands. The aim was also to open up the school to the city.
Spaces were created that can be used by the community, thus enriching and deepening the bonds between the school and the city, improving the urban integration of the school and promoting a richer relationship with the local community. This also contributes to better economic and social use of some of the facilities, such as the sports areas, canteen, library, auditorium/lecture theatres and the multipurpose hall. These facilities can function to a certain degree independently of the more formal educational spaces, allowing for use outside normal school hours.