Water is the beginning of all that exists, the vital element of human existence, having been the subject of different cults and several conceptions. The triple symbolism water-body-bath is as old as humanity itself, and its reference as creative element of the world, in the various civilizations and cultures, allows to show not only its importance, but also its symbolic complexity. The present essay constitutes a study about the relationship between Man and Water, creator of city and culture, and how it was manifested and modified over time, intending to rediscover some of the ritual and the memory impregnated and associated with it.
Of the extensive beaches that once defined the waterfront area and image of Lisbon, many eventually turned into more permanent elements, driven by the accelerated growth of the port and industrial activities, shaped by man under the form of landfills that formed continuous and insurmountable barriers. This gesture has drastically changed the relationship of the city and the population with its river, giving these areas a marginal quality. This investigation proposes a reflection on this new territory conquered to the river, the post-industrial landfill of Lisbon, analyzing it in its gradual abandonment and current consequence and participation in the city, laying the foundation for a critical discourse about its construction and future uses. At a time when the topic of densification of cities has become increasingly urgent, these urban voids gain relevance and prominence in the reforming and revitalizing process, due to its centrality, area, informality and connection to the river.
The Tagus Baths. Spaces of Water and Light in Aterro da Boavista arises through the practical development of an urban and architectural proposal that seeks to recover to memory some of the ritual and tradition of water and baths that were lost in the time, returning them to their original character, in their therapeutic, social and playful dimensions. The proposal takes shape in the construction of a building of exception in the most exposed point of the landfill of Boavista, which claims its place as a reference point in the riverfront façade of the city and as an element of urbanity.