Client: U8 Revista Unidade
Status: Competition (2014)
Clasification: 1 prize
Location: Oporto, Portugal
Climate: Mediterranean, Temperate
Types: Cultural, Cultural center, Refurbishment
Five small parishes existed in the urban area located to the north of Maia. These parishes had their own distinct boundaries, but during the past twenty years, a new “courbe,” consisting of approximately 15,000 people, has formed because of fast growth with a network of roads that has blurred these boundaries. The streets have become transit routes for vehicles; the region’s identity has been lost; and the territory lacks the human element it once had. The commuters use the roads, and the churches have a lesser number of nodes around them because many have been taken over by the population expansion. The city has become a deserted area with no identity, and it compels us to look at the type of boundaries that exist in the region.
The rapid urban growth has caused a deterritorialisation in the area, which needs to be studied. The term ‘deterritorialisation’ is ambiguous; the prefix ‘de’ stands for the elimination or decrease of a certain thing. The word ‘territory’ represents a region, which is occupied and guarded by an animal or a group of animals. The territory needs to be well-defined and linked to a reference place and time.
The area connects Castelo da Maia with the industrial region of Gemude, the E1 highway, and downtown Maia. Around 15,000 people live in Castelo da Maia and its courbe. These people travel daily to the five parishes in the area: Gemude, Barca, Gondim, San Pedro de Avioso, and Castelo da Maia, and also to Maia and Porto. About 2,000 students travel to the School Complex of Castelo daily, and about 4,000 students commute to ISMAI by Metro. People are not visible in the streets, and this has heightened the deserted look of the region.The public spaces around Castelo are not well integrated with the community and lack a clear link to the other parts of the city. The urban sprawl does not have any sort of a public realm, and because of this, the streets are not used for meeting and gathering anymore. These spaces can be improved to meet the standard of the network of sports facilities, which have been set up.
The public spaces around Castelo are not well integrated with the community and lack a clear link to the other parts of the city. The urban sprawl does not have any sort of a public realm, and because of this, the streets are not used for meeting and gathering anymore. These spaces can be improved to meet the standard of the network of sports facilities, which have been set up.
The site under consideration was an industrial complex in the 1940s. It was a landmark as it had a tall chimney, and the surrounding areas had a low built density. Population growth has damaged the complex, but it remains relevant because it is only a hundred meters from the Metro station, two hundred meters from the complex of schools in Castelo, and five hundred meters from the ISMAI. Despite these connections, the factory remains an inaccessible island in the middle of the urban sprawl.
Many large extensions have been added to the complex, considerably altering its identity, as the chimney is no longer the only tall structure in the area. The size of the structures must be reduced, and only the ESSENTIAL retained.
A “New Territory” needs to be created which consists of a specific area and has a group of “animals” which defend it.
The streets, which once existed, are no longer present, but there is a sense of nostalgia associated with them. The idea of a new territory holds the potential to build an OASIS, which can be used as a refuge from the noise and traffic associated with the urban centers. The OASIS would have public spaces, which are accessible at any time, and it would allow individuals to interact with each other and carry out social activities. A peaceful area with adequate public space needs to be created for the inhabitants of Castelo and its “courbe”.
The Roman workflow applied for the construction of “stradas” is considered as a framework for the project strategy, consisting of the following stages: deforesting, leveling, demarcation, foundation-building and assembling.
Therefore, it is suggested that:
All the structures, except block A, need to be demolished, as they contradict the pattern of low buildings and a vertical chimney. Some common elements can be retained and used as a base, such as old floorings and plinths. This would lay the basis for a system of responding in the future to cases of a similar nature. The area can be contained with a walled structure, which demarcates the space and joins together the community as a whole by proposing an attractive program.
This understanding forms the basis of the following proposal:
A new territory needs to be created that restores the identity of the “courbe”. It needs to have an outer wall, which demarcates the new area and forms a “walled Oasis”.