In January 1874, the then Mayor Pinto Bessa, announced the opening work, albeit at a slow pace, of a street that would become in later years one of the largest commercial centers in the city of Porto.
An undertake of great complexity for the time, due not only to its engineering challenges and the number of important works of art and artifacts it held, but also an endeavor of great financial cost to the municipality estimated at a value of $22,504 600 reis.
The main causes for such a high priced enterprise was the frontal and vehement opposition of the Fraternity of S.Chrispim, who owned several properties in the area, the cost associated with expropriation and any correlated legal and bureaucratic procedures, the large number of properties to demolish or acquire and the future length of the street.
In the initial project for this thoroughfare, figured significantly in the middle of the street, a space dedicated to the Chapel and Hospital of S.Chrispim, which was already in place there, and later would give way to the headquarters of the Aliança bank.
However the municipality's purpose was questioned strongly in court by the Brotherhood, due to the costs of reconstruction, location and the worth of expropriation.
After the legal dispute, the Chapel and Hospital of S.Chrispim were then demolished and rebuilt but not in the location previously planned, going instead to Santos Pousada Street, the former Póvoa de Cima Square, now known as Square Rainha Dona Amélia, where it still stands today.
As for the upcoming Mouzinho da Silveira Street, its initial design was again amended to provide for the extension of the route in 3 meters to add to the 16 meters originally planned.
It was estimated at more than 200 the number of deeds subject to expropriation.
Finally, on December 15th 1881, by resolution of the city council it was named Mouzinho da Silveira Street the connection between Congostas Street and British Street.
That said, the first service of public transportation was inaugurated in 1882, using carriages on rails, powered initially by animal traction, which served its entire route.
This connection was paramount for the development and creation of the railway station of São Bento which was inaugurated shortly afterwards.
The original aforementioned rail tracks weren't removed until the 1980's.
The inauguration and opening of Mouzinho da Silveira Street was one of the most remarkable events within the city of Porto's late nineteenth century urban planning developments.
Built on the former bed of the Vila's river - which would become channeled by an aqueduct built with the dimensions and design of noteworthy strength, measuring approximately 365 meters long, 2.5 meters wide and 3.35 meters high - the Mouzinho da Silveira Street aimed to provide the port with a wide and easy pathway of communication between the Douro River and the city's lowland areas and its inner sector.
As a salient feature to its type of construction, the street was promptly built using vertical multi-storied buildings on both sides with shops at ground level and the other floors dedicated to offices and housing.
Its special location between the riverfront area, the pier, the New Customs and the recently established railways station, quickly turned Mouzinho da Silveira Street into the linchpin of the whole business and mercantile city of Porto, engulfing in its route the headquarters for all the major carriers, customs agents, Port wine producers, the English Trading Post, Chamber of Commerce as well as the financial and economic center, chiefly among them the Bank of Portugal and the leading insurance companies.
Amid the most flourishing retail businesses stood out the International Pharmacy, Andrade Mello Watchmakers, the Argus Insurance Company, the headquarters and warehouse of Águas Castello and Casa das Rolhas (The House of Corks).
Mouzinho José Xavier da Silveira (1780-1849), was a liberal portuguese politician and one of the most important personalities of the liberal revolution.
He was one of the most active legislators of the time and was responsible for significant changes in the legal and tax systems, some of which remained until the present day, in essence unchanged.
Taxes such as SISA, the organization of the administrative and judicial districts and counties in the country and the formation of the Supreme Court were some of his initiatives.
A street named after him was a tribute from the City of Port to the politician who during his stay in Porto, promulgated and published several of its legislative reforms.
Moisés Luiz Rocha Paiva, born on February 7th, 1934, maintains active Casa Mouzinho a traditional commercial outlet in Mouzinho da Silveira Street and one of its oldest establishments.
In its 53 years of existence, the Casa Mouzinho became specialized in the production and sale of flags from around the world. We talked about the past, present and future of the Street, his store and the building itself.
Mouzinho da Silveira Street has always been a place with a palpable commercial inkling. What are the main differences between the Mouzinho Street of today and yesterday?
In the past there was a proliferation of trade and shops and were visible at every other door. There were several warehouses, some of them quite large. There was also much retail, the so-called "everything stores" where one could find a bit of everything.
Similarly, there were also many grocery stores and many hardware stores as well.
However over the years most of these establishments were closed giving way to others.
Life was getting harder, and with the rise of larger stores somewhere else and the lack of parking spaces, people slowly faded from the street.
Casa Mouzinho. What does the future look like?
We will continue to develop the business of selling flags. In the past we use to also sell knitwear but the flags will continue to be the core of our investment.
Are you thinking of export or do you prefer to keep your customer base?
Export no, not really. That would require us to have an apparatus in place to help us respond to potential demands from abroad. We will continue to sell to our regular customers, clubs, institutions, municipalities and emigrants.
Previously there was a lot of commerce, especially at Christmas. We would be forced to come here on the 24th of December after supper to fulfill our customers orders.
Now our over the counter retail is much smaller although many people still come in, primarily tourists.
What do you remember about the building, its residents and neighbors?
When I came here the store was already vacant. It had been a grocery warehouse which I never got to know.
I remember that residents were essentially brokers, who came and went, because of the customs activities being so prevalent in this part of town. There were many people in
the freight business as well as salesmen. Some architects lived here also.
A challenging proposal in the recovering of an 18th century building in the historic center of Porto, in one of its most iconic streets - Mouzinho da Silveira.
The program defines a commercial establishment in the entrance and basement and four additional apartments on the upper floors.
The intervention is part of an existing structure developed through the vertical access located behind the building. We tried to keep the same typologies, introducing principals consistent with contemporary elements.
We removed the toilets located in the vertical access and positioned them inside the tenement.
We kept the traditional construction system, timber frame, rectangular oak-wooden truss section and pine floors. Interior walls of shingle mud replacing the grout by drywall.
It was intended to maintain and preserve the building by reconstructing small spaces in an advanced state of degradation, satisfying the requirements of heritage conservation and using contemporary methods of intervention in the edified patrimony.
// Level 1 Housing type T0, lounge kitchen, toilet, with an individual compartment for the toilet and
storage. The conservation criteria allowed for the recovery of most preexisting
elements. In the ceiling we sought to keep the existing structure enhancing the design in
plaster. The walls, ceiling, interior and exterior spans in white, accentuating the natural
light that flows through the spaces and its contrast with the dark wooden floor.
Room 24.50m2 | kitchen 7.00m2 | Storage 2.00m2 | Bathroom 6.00m2. All
compartments with pinewood floors and wood baseboards 60cm high., Stucco ceilings
painted under fasquio. The walls, baseboards, ceilings and bays painted white.
Recovered indoors and outdoors spans. MOB's kitchen fully equipped with "Fagor"
appliances. "Sanindusa" bathroom toilet and individual bidet, Carlton tub in red and
// Level 2 This fraction has an identical configuration to the first floor, adding a hall to the toilet,
simulated through a closet. Housing type T0, lounge, kitchen, bathroom and storage.
We highlighted the structural elements, the window frames and wooden floors, keeping
the design of the interior baseboards and gaps.
Hall 2.00m2 | Room 24.00m2 | Kitchen 6.50m2 | Storage 2.00m2 | Bathroom 4.50m2.
All compartments with pinewood floors with wood baseboards 60cm height., Painted
plasterboard ceiling. The walls, baseboards, ceilings and bays painted white.
Recovered indoors and outdoors spans. MOB's kitchen fully equipped with "Fagor"
appliances. Complete bathroom by "Sanindusa".
// Level 3 Different configurations in relation to the lower floors. Housing Type T0, hall, lounge /
bedroom, kitchen / living room and bathroom. This fraction was created with furniture
plans in white (doors and cabinets) in order to design spaces for storage.
Hall 2.00m2 Hall | Room 15.00m2 | Kitchen 4.00m2 | Room 18.00m2 | Bathroom
3.50m2. All compartments with pinewood floors, wood baseboards 60cm height.
Painted plasterboard ceiling. The walls, baseboards, ceilings and bays painted white.
Recovery spans indoors and outdoors. MOB's kitchen fully equipped with "Fagor"
appliances. Bathroom, sink, toilet and shower base by "Sanindusa."
// Level 4 In the fourth floor housing we sought to restore the original design, giving the home a
spatial flexibility, but especially a contemporary image. The rooftop terrace overlooking
the roofs of the historic center of Porto is the brightest space in the entire building.
Housing type T0, living room / kitchen, den / bedroom, bathroom. Alterations made to
the ceiling in room / kitchen in order to give it a higher amplitude, introducing zenithal
illumination by installing two gaps in the coverage allowed it to accentuate the natural
Room 16.00m2 | Kitchen 7.50m2 | Storage with skylight 7.00m2 | Bathroom 3.50m2,
with skylight | Balcony 14.00m2. All compartments with pinewood floors, wood
baseboards 60cm height., Sloping ceiling with three waters format, painted
plasterboard. The walls, baseboards, ceilings and bays painted white. Recovered
indoors and outdoors spans. MOB's kitchen fully equipped with "Fagor" appliances.
Complete bathroom by "Sanindusa."