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Portugal’s Costa Nova Sailing Club combines vintage glamour with contemporary cool.

By Rachel Gallaher

The Costa Nova Sailing Club in Costa Nova, Portugal was renovated by Ferreira Arquitetos. Image by Ivo Tavares.

Sun-soaked evenings sipping wine while overlooking the waters of Portugal’s Aveiro Lagoon are nothing new to the members of the Costa Nova Sailing Club—one of the oldest nautical clubs in the area—but a much-needed renovation updated the aging building, bringing a fresh ambiance to the spaces in which that sipping occurs, from the restaurant to the member’s lounge.

Located in Costa Nova, a beachside town on a skinny peninsula on the western coast of Portugal, the building had experienced the usual wear-and-tear of a waterfront structure, but there were also spatial division on the interiors that closed off various sections to each other—an issue that staff and members hoped to resolve. The renovation, led by Portuguese firm Ferreira Arquitetos, needed to make these updates, while also respecting the history and aesthetic of the club.

“It a complete overhaul of the entire space, from the existing members’ room, through the sanitary facilities, kitchen, and main room,” says architect José Ferreira, who led the project. “Although there are different spaces, we tried to maintain the connection between them through the constant materiality.”

The dining area is minimal and bright, it's Nordic Pine construction adding a sense of lightness to the space, which overlooks the Aveiro Lagoon. Image by Ivo Tavares.

The club was divided into three main sections: the restaurant, the members’ lounge, and the terrace. To help improve the flow through these areas, Ferreira opened up the rooms to each other and built a single counter between the restaurant and bar to both better unify them while still maintaining a sense of exclusivity in the lounge for members.

“The entire history of the space was constantly present, from the choice of colors, the types of wood and flooring… even down to the dishes and the uniforms of employees,” Ferreira says. “Everything was thought of and executed in order to highlight the restaurant and the tradition of the Costa Nova Sailing Club in the best possible way.”

The members' lounge embraces a traditional, nautical theme. Images by Ivo Tavares.

One of the main areas this shows up is in the materiality of the project. “Wood remained as the backdrop of the typical Costa Nova haystack,” explains Ferreira. This sawtooth-style roof coupled with the exterior’s chipper striped façade (in crisp white and snappy blue and red) gives the club a vintage look that harkens back to the heyday of European bathing culture and summers spent browning at the beach.

The restaurant, which is constructed with Nordic Pine and glass, juts out over the lagoon on wood pilings—its airy, view-forward interiors put the architecture on full display. The minimal lines and bright palette contrast with the member’s lounge, which is darker and more closed-off, much like the cabin of a sailboat. It also embraces a more straight-forward nautical theme with sailing regalia and model ships serving as décor.

A bar was built between the restaurant and the members' lounge in order to provide more connection, while also serving as an aesthetic bridge. Image by Ivo Tavares.


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