About the integration in the surrounding

The Terminal is part of the grading scale of the city fabric, which as it descends the hill changes from the fina grain of the steep streets of Alfama to the larger buildings placed below, alongside the riverbank. The building takes its role as the city gate and symbol of the desired revitalization of the area.

About mobility

The project seeks to encourage mobility across the space and between it and the rest of the city, separating and organizing the different types of circulation, waiting areas and pockets of vehicles parking in the intervention area.

The new main access square of the Terminal is conceived as a large urban plaza-belvedere, equipped as a comfortable public living room which resolves a broad and easy access to the interior of the equipment and an eventual pleasant waiting time on the exterior. On the periphery of the main square, the provided circulation channels have a special mission to facilitate access, parking and waiting for the private and collective vehicles.

The square will be softened with a few nucleus of trees, with a similar scale to the small spaces that can be found scattered across the hills of Alfama, using the species characteristic of Portugal, adapted to the proximity of the river, such as alder or ash.

On the edge of the square, near the Customs building is expected to build a mirrored layer of water, thus recalling that the complex is located on a valuable piece of land conquered to the river.

About the proposed building

The larger building consists of three major elements of which two are formed by volumes that house the programs of boarding and unboarding of the Terminal and another lower one is defined by the roof plan of the bus terminal area.

The building cantilevers over the entrance of the public space sheltering the large waiting room and check-in areas located on the first floor. In this gesture, the building highlights its unique character while setting up a threshold between the building and the large plaza, almost like a chamber with exterior access protected from the direct actions of the elements.

The building volumes are coated with a metal skin that merges the volumes of the program in one body next to the river when viewed from a distance, giving it a city scale. Shading the differences between opaque and transparent areas, this material will create a contemporary image, durable and committed in the future. Its distant image will seek to relate to the close surroundings, which will be facilitated by the material’s response to changes in light throughout the day.

To sum up, the Terminal building wants to create a symbol of the city that promotes the relationship with the river and the revitalization of a wider area and to use the simultaneous enhancement of the scales for distant and close readings, with an hydridization between the solid and fragmented. The unity promotes the potential of regenerative and functional machine, while the fragmentation is used in order to generate an efficient distribution of the program, serving clear routes to the user through the space and enhancing the controlled permeability from, to and through the building. More than showing what is intended is to make certain realities evident.


architects: BCQ, Catarina Crespo, João Pedro Cegonho, Marta Cid  |  team: BCQ (David Baena, Toni Casamor, Manel Peribáñez, Maria Taltavull), Catarina Crespo, João Pedro Cegonho, Marta Cid  |  status: Competition (2010)  |  structural engineer: CONSULMAR - Projectistas e Consultores  |  visualizer: Studio  |  scale: 20.185 m2 large  |  types: terminal, transport  |  views: 5.034