Carlos Relvas left us an extraordinary image patrimony that makes him internationally known. But he also left us the unique house-studio in Golegă, the only of its kind worldwide and for ever linked to his work and life project.

 

Relvas had already built a workshop in his garden, exclusively dedicated to photography and equipped with the inevitable glass and curtain system, which allowed him to control light. 
Then, in 1876, he built a second and magnificent workshop , a true temple dedicated to the art of photography.


Also in the garden of his ?Quinta do Outeiro? property, this building is an ambitious project, carefully planned, a pioneer of a transition architecture that admirably joins art and technology on stone, stucco, iron and glass.

 

This work, which took 4 years to be completed, was ordered to Architect Henrique Carlos Afonso, but such a demanding and perfect building suggests that the real author of the project was Carlos Relvas.

 

With an iron structure, the two-storey house has been decorated accordingly to the Romantic tendencies of the time, which makes it look like some sort of monument. Apparently, the building resembles a Christian church, having three naves and a transept at the end , the result of joining glass and iron together with the transparency and elegance of the architecture ? a religious, almost magical, effect.

 

Downstairs, on the ground-floor, there used to be the labs and the lobby, and upstairs were the make-up room and the huge glasses of the photography studio. There, in a wide place, one could find all sorts of furniture and photographic accessories, as well as large canvases painted with landscapes, all under an iron and glass structure that supported the light-regulating curtains, pulled by a set of wheels and ropes.

 

Very popular among the press, the ?new? workshop had a number of characteristics that rose curiosity and enthusiasm in the Portuguese society of the time, namely that it was a house-studio completely dedicated to photography and adding to the fact that Carlos Relvas had this architectural beauty built in Golegă, on Ribatejo's plane, one-hundred kilometres far from Lisbon, the Capital.

 

And it wasn't only in Portugal that Carlos Relvas's house-studio caused an impact ? the distinguished major-general James Waterhouse paid a visit to the workshop. Being a man who knew all Europe regarding photography and its elites, he would be categorical in his words of praise: ?Altogether, as far as its general situation and particular details are concerned, it's the most perfect photography studio ever made, and we can only be sorry for its location, so far in the country (...)?

 

In 2003 the house-studio was submitted to a project of restoring  but has nevertheless been kept the way its original plan was, as a unique monument of a heroic period in the history of photography.