• Extension of the Architectural Association Headquarters

  • 2671-LPP-LIS.PT-2020
  • by Luís Pedro Pinto

The context

The whole story is not known about this existing ruined building, located on Rua da Ribeira Nova, and now the site of the intervention to expand the headquarters of the Order of Architects.

The first documented reference goes back to the beginning of the twentieth century (cartography of 1911 by Silva Pinto) where there is already a drawing of his plan. It is believed, taking into account the apparent industrial genesis of construction and the proximity to the Ribeira market, that this address has always been a place for storage and storage of various goods or commercial transactions that marked this area of the city until the end of the century past.

Today, however, it is not so. Secure by steel beams that hug its exterior walls, what remains of this building has been and is in imminent collapse. The deterioration of the complex could lead us to question the added value of its complete demolition. However, its classification, in 2012, as a Group of Public Interest, discourages such thinking.

Around it, there has been a rapid and expressive requalification of the building: the buildings now have a “clean face”. Today they are “luxury” hotels and apartments, the Ribeira market has become the “food court” of a “lifestyle” magazine and people have given way to other people sitting in tuc-tucs. A certain popular and “underground” culture that has always populated Cais do Sodré has quickly moved away…

The politics

In absolute consideration for the building, Banhos de São Paulo, Headquarters building, whether for its constructive scale, material and a certain monumentalization, it seems to us that the best way to build an extension is to emphasize an autonomous volumetric relationship, ensuring a covered passage requested in program, but dematerialized, guaranteeing formal autonomy to the buildings: the Headquarters and the Annex.

Between the two, special importance is given to the street, whether in the clear definition of its limits, in the effective increase of the living and use area, in the possibilities of circulation and in the careful arrangement of the functions established here. This approach of enhancing the undeveloped space, as an open and functional public space (but possible to close in relation to the street) tends to enhance its facades – existing elevation South of the Baths of São Paulo and new facade of the annex building.

Accepting the essentials of the pre-existing façade design, its materiality, in estimating its essence, with its full arch masonry spans, its time deformations, a line of adjustment (and demolition) is defined from which will apparently support the new construction. This is not a mere “fachadização” answer but a critical reading of the existing one, maintaining the essential and necessary for the new project.

This line, about 3.2 meters from the floor, corresponds to the beginning of the curve of the openings and serves, among other things, to remove weight from a wall that is already very deformed, helping in its stability. On the other hand, with this cut of relevance, the existing stonework is given relevance, emphasizing its design with the cut in the new material, referring the opaque pre-existence to a material basis of tactile contact with the street and with street subjects.

It is proposed that this wall be maintained, from the outside, in its current state, without painting, cleaning or «liftings» (only technically guaranteeing its non-breakdown). It will carry your memory, pasted posters, graffiti or old paintings and will reinforce a contrast with a new and immaculate building perched on top. Perhaps it can continue to be one of the last old walls of Cais do Sodré.

credits

architect: Luís Pedro Pinto  |  client: Ordem Arquitectos  |  status: Competition (2020)  |  clasification: 1 rang  |  location: Lisboa, Portugal (38.7076485,-9.1458267)  |  climate: Oceanic / maritime, Temperate  |  material: concrete  |  environment: Old town  |  consultant: Betar, Formato EC  |  visualizer: Lamb 3D  |  budget: 500.000 €  |  scale: 554 m2 small  |  ratio: 902,53 €/m2  |  types: headquarters, institutional, refurbishment  |  views: 334