Arco do Cego

education , 1st Prize
Lisbon, Portugal

Arco do Cego

Year – 2020|...
Public Competition – 1st Prize
Client – Lisbon Municipality, SRU

Location – Lisbon, Portugal
GPS - 38°44'24.8"N 9°08'28.5"W
Site Area | Area – 552 sq. m | 1.446 sq.m
Budget –  2.800.000,00€
Status – under construction
Partners – Albuquerque Goinhas, Cristina de Mendonça, Nuno Griff

in Collaboration – João Asper Banha, Marco Beltrão (AXIOMA)

Project Team – Fabiana Ferreira, Magdalena Pietrzyk, Maria João Ferradosa, Rui Neto, Sofia Reis

Landscape Architecture – Sandra Nunes

Engineering – José Delgado (CIVICONCEBE), Paulo Rodrigues (ACRIBIA)

Design – Ruben Dias, Ricardo Dantas, Fábio Martins (ITEMZERO)

3D Visualisation – João Asper Banha (AXIOMA)

Contractor – NORCEP Construções S.A.

Photography – AXIOMA

Located in a very central area of the city, the building targeted for intervention is at the present day the “Arco do Cego” Lisbon Municipal Archive, in its eponymous Arco do Cego neighbourhood.
The masterplan for this social neighbourhood, drawn up during the First Republic and designed by Adães Bermudes, Frederico Caetano de Carvalho and Edmundo Tavares, is defined by an orthogonal grid, hierarchised by two central axes, perpendicular to each other, from which the four symmetrical quarters of the neighbourhood are defined.
Although the block around the Municipal Archive building is an exception to the plan's premises, it is in its orthogonality, scale and hierarchisation that the morphological essence of this urban complex is to be found.
At the scale of the building, it is possible to identify premises similar to those identified in the neighbourhood plan. Four street façades, all with access points to the interior of the plot, reflect the axiality and symmetry implicit in the building.

As a conservation strategy for the building, the initial phase involved the meticulous identification, preservation, and maintenance of the architectural elements essential to its identity and historical significance. In the process of adapting the building for a new purpose, a second opportunity emerged to reinterpret and reformulate a structure integrated into a well-established urban fabric. This endeavor embodies a dual approach, presenting a proposal that oscillates between fostering a constructive dialogue and navigating the tension between preservation and removal.

Embracing the inherent cross axiality and symmetry within the neighborhood and the building, the proposed upgrades are as follows:
1) Establishment of access points at all four elevations, strategically resolving altimetric disparities between the adjacent pavement and the internal building elevations.
2) Introduction of a structural cross defined by four axes, meticulously organizing the building into a grid of three modules by three.
3) Characterization of the intervention through the identification of two distinct construction phases.
4) Organization of the program into two distinct zones, delineating spaces for permanence and complementary functions.

The four access points, each aligned with a specific elevation, emphasize and underscore the latent axiality and symmetry within both the neighborhood and the building. These entrances efficiently address the vertical relationships between the interior and exterior, ensuring height coherence, functional flexibility, and adherence to the program.
Outside the cruciform structure, precisely at the four corners of the building, permanent spaces such as the Cafeteria, Multipurpose Room, CAF Rooms, and Activity Rooms are strategically positioned. Inside the cross-shaped layout, the remaining functional program spaces complement those in the first group, creating a harmonious balance.

The cruciform interior organization plays a pivotal role in elucidating the two distinct construction phases, offering a comprehensive resolution to the project from conceptual, programmatic, and technical perspectives. The introduction of the cross as a new architectural element, manifested in pigmented concrete, juxtaposed with the preservation of the exterior walls as historical components, is further substantiated by the deliberate use of different textures and colors. This material differentiation, both internally and externally, fosters a seamless and harmonious integration between the contemporary and the preserved elements of the structure.

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