Chalet of the Countess of Edla

“The Jury acknowledged the great charm and importance of this romantic building, and were impressed with its meticulous restoration following a fire in 1999. The restoration, carried out after detailed historical research and with help from the national conservation authorities and universities, demonstrates the power of example in post-fire reconstruction. The care taken to research in the most precise way the originality of the wood and plaster works, and the building details, such as the imitation timberwork and the cork detailing, is extraordinary. The educational potential of the building and its surroundings has been fully developed for use by teaching bodies at all levels.”

The Chalet is a romantic cottage (1864-69) built by King-Consort Ferdinand II and his second wife (Countess of Elda) in the park of Pena, within the Cultural Landscape of Sintra (UNESCO 1995). After the end of the Monarchy (1910) and decades of neglect, the building was destroyed by fire in 1999, with total collapse of roofs, floors, partition walls and balcony. With the help of an EEA Grant, the restoration project started in 2007 with a salvage operation, followed by study of the original building techniques and 3D modelling. Work started in 2010 to restore the chalet to its original condition: reinforcement of the masonry structures (arches); reconstruction of interior timber elements (pavements, partition walls, staircases, window/door frames, roofs); introduction of modern infrastructures (energy, water, sewage, heating, communications, fire protection, CCTV); conservation of external renders (which had been moulded and painted to imitate timber planks); restoration of the exceptional decoration in virgin cork; and interior conservation. The chalet has been open to the public since 2011.

Chalet of the Countess of Edla, Sintra, PORTUGAL

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