Status: Competition (2014)
Location: Oporto, Portugal
Climate: Temperate, Mediterranean
Scale: 3.000 ㎡ Medium
Types: Cultural, Mixed use, Refurbishment
Abandoned in a the middle of an uncommon plot, this ruin is fascinating. It looks extremely fragile because of the time which dammages it but also because of the surrounding architecture so sufocating. However this glory of the past probably once dominated its environment. This long element, built some meters above the street level, on the top of a small hill, was austere, « out of scale » and very introverted.
But, despite this urban scale, the inner organisation was made by some more domestic spaces such as galleries and an interior street, both in a human scale. That is precisely this duality between urban scale and domesticity that the project try to reach both through its organisation its atmosphere.
The gallery, seems to be the obvious architectural element ables to deal with those two scales. They are made by a succession of arches. Those ones are built by assembling prefabricated concrete elements. They are on both sides of the main hall, a multifonctional open air space. Its atmosphere is clearly related to a cloister idea around which the program is organised.
Those galleries creat a architecture punctuated with various lights and an relation interior/exterior which is constantly evolving. As a threshold, these spaces lead us towards a inner domestic architecture. The south part of the project is directly related to the N14 convening the gas station atmosphere which are along the road from Porto to Braga. The whole program related to the gas station is there in order to limit the cars inside the project. The facade, totally flat, is the only element within the project which links the east and the west galleries.
On the contrary, the north part is more pedestrian and connects the two galleries with the railway platform and the eastern street. The east gallery is also a way to make the link between the two plazas (on two different levels). In the meantine, the west one gives acces to the olive grove, a spiritual and hedonist space, which makes us forgot the proximity of the railways.