Public wash-houses in Portugal: spaces of aggregation and sanitary aid. The case of study of the city of Aveiro

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Abstract

This paper investigates the typology of the Portuguese public wash-housesthat represents a very important sanitary aid and a space of social aggregation.More particularly, the most common features of such a typology will be outlined:architectural configuration, materials and technology, constructive characteristics,hydraulic equipment, historical evolution. These simple but highly functional littlebuildings are spread across the whole country and had been extremely importantfor the population since the middle age. In the last two centuries, new wash-houseswere built, also following the scientific advances and the novel health requirementsthat spread in Europe between the XIX and XX centuries. Some European caseswill be introduced for comparative reasons. With time, they were enlarged, rebuilt,restored, and many new were built. Finally, the wash-houses of the area of Aveirowill be discussed in deep. There, as commonly happens in other locations inPortugal, these buildings are still used by the old people to wash their clothes.The study of such an architectural typology will be extremely interesting forall the scholars - historian of construction, technologist, restorer, and urbanplanner - approaching the vast theme of sanitary construction where materialsand technologies are strictly related to human health, sanitary requirements,innovation in medical science. Nowadays, public wash-houses represent an imageof the past that must be preserved with all the possible attention and care to avoidincongruous works on a so “simple” and “intuitive” building that joins togetherarchitecture, engineering, and medical science.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationARCHDESIGN '19
Pages439-454
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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