To conserve architectural heritage and ensure it remains intact is to preserve memory itself. Urban refurbishment, a growing trend not only in Portugal, but throughout Europe, has the mission of recuperating cities and preserving their historical characteristics.
The restoration of buildings is not a recent practice. However, the concept of urban refurbishment goes beyond the understanding of the construction at hand, and focuses on aspects ranging from the surrounding territory to the scale of the building, enhancing the urban environment and quality of life of the community and safeguarding the identity of the constructed heritage.
Refurbishment also plays a crucial role in the sustainable development of cities by exerting a level of the control on urban expansion, maintaining the existing structures, updating how different zones function and their comfort and making them more environmentally friendly, all the time preserving the historical patrimony and re-energising city centres.
In Portugal, especially in the 1970s, there was a strong tendency to abandon buildings and let them fall into ruin. But in recent decades, especially after the financial and property crisis of 2008, a clear trend emerged to refurbish and reoccupy the territory and vacant buildings. Refurbishment began to be a goal of municipal policies, pumping investment into the residential, commercial and tourism sectors.
The need to update buildings and adapt them to the requirements of modern living, in addition to the focus on preservation of the patrimony and sustainability, has led to demand for materials that are more environmentally friendly, adaptable, durable and which provide better thermal and acoustic performance. This has given rise to new materials, such as VIROC panels.
Used in the various phases of construction, produced in different colours, dimensions and thicknesses, VIROC is a compound panel comprising a mixture of wood particles that afford it flexibility, and cement which lends is strength and durability.
Geared towards sustainable construction, VIROC panels comply with a set of factors that contribute to the level of sustainability of the material. The panels are made from a certified source material, do not contain harmful substances and the emission of volatile organic compounds is extremely low. The versatility and features of VIROC panels make them ideal for refurbishment projects.
The panels are easy to handle and install and come is several sizes and thicknesses, allowing them to be used both outdoors, on façades and open-air structures, and indoors in several forms and applications such as on walls, floors, ceilings and furniture, both in dry environments and in rooms which contain moisture such as kitchens and bathrooms.
The panelling provides thermal insulation and is moisture resistant and fire resistant, making it a material that confers the singular attributes of efficiency and security upon the construction and allows better management of the natural resources.
See the examples here of the design and versatility of the VIROC panels in different applications and different projects all over the world.