It is the emphasis on tradition that threads the rehabilitation work of Cinema Batalha in Porto
The Art-Deco Cinema Batalha is about to come to life as the restoration of the building can now be glimpsed through both the scale model on display on site and the giant canvas that covers the place.
The restoration of the building speaks largely to Porto City's Hall desire for maintaining the original architectural design of the building.
Curious bystanders have the opportunity to feel what Cinema Batalha will look like, once rehabilitation is concluded; in the meantime, the canvas on place provides a chronological roadmap to knowing a bit of the history behind this decades old building.
Cinema Batalha was formerly baptised as the Salão High-Life (High Life Cinema), when it was located in Boavista. Its owners moved it to its current location in the 1940's and it was rebuilt by architect Artur Andrade and re-inaugurated on 3rd June 1947.
It is now located in the parish of Cedofeita, Santo Ildefonso, Sé, Miragaia, São Nicolau e Vitória.
Following a golden period, the building and the cinema began losing customers, mostly due to the novelty of video rental services in the 1980s and the growth of theatres in malls during the 1990s. Cinema Batalha closed in 2003.
The building stands as one of the most stunning examples of the Art-Deco style in Portugal and in Porto, along with Coliseu Porto Ageas.
The rehabilitation works are ongoing to full throttle, and once concluded, a fully restored Cinema Batalha will be brought back to the city, one of the most amazing show theatres in the Invicta, following National Theatre São João and Coliseu Porto Ageas.
Mayor of Porto, Rui Moreira visited the location yesterday and witnessed first-hand the outdoors and sidings that protect the working areas as well as the maquette that glimpses what the building will be, as soon as works are completed.
The building has been classified as a Public Interest Monument in 2012, and Cinema Batalha was handed over to the municipality that will be in charge of its management for a period of 25 years.
The project was sitting in the Court of Auditors for two years, which led to the building further deteriorating and to a new assessment by the architect in charge, Alexandre Alves Costa, and the Atelier 15 Arquitectura and, ultimately to the doubling of the expenditure invested in the building's rehabilitation, which is now at 3,95 million euros.
The "Endeavour of Public Works to Rehabilitate Cinema Batalha" is the realisation of Rui Moreira's purpose to fulfil his cultural plan of the city of Porto, which started when he was first elected Mayor, in 2013, and that included a project to recuing the building and restore it to the city.
The rehabilitation includes deep structural works, at pavement, wall and ceiling level and also roofing and the establishment of new rooms and new equipment.
Also, a multipurpose hall, featuring a bar and other recreational facets will be implemented in the former Sala Bebé and a studio room with room capacity for circa 150 people. The general seats and the galley will have 346 seats and 222 seats, respectively.
The project also includes a second screening room and the harnessing of the terraced roof.
Focusing on the promotion of the silver screen, the programming will feature a cultural agenda that attracts all types of audiences.
When the visit to Cinema Batalha concluded, Rui Moreira took the opportunity to stroll Rua de Santa Catarina, where he talked with residents and traders and also took the time to purchase the newly released book by Neill Lochery, "Porto, Gateway to the World" that explains why Porto is a vibrant cultural and commercial city that takes pride in its origins and historical connections with the world.