Bloco das Amoreiras
dwelling , 1st Prize
EPAL (the Lisbon water company) promoted an international competition concerning the development of a big scale mixed-use block, desired to be a new landmark in the city of Lisbon. The program comprised a body of dwellings (100 apartments) but also commercial and office spaces. All the compound should be served by a proportional underground car parking. The intervention area was under the influence of an existing Plan, but this plan was under review by the municipality.
As a first approach, the proposed project questioned the parameters of the existing Plan, proposing to change the hierarchy of its connections and making a different interpretation for this location (as it currently stands). It is on this assumption that the proposal brings together what we understand to be the natural expectations for that part of the city: A linear expansion of the orthogonal grid of Campo de Ourique, transporting all the specifics of the adjacent neighbourhood to this new plot.
The approach to the preliminary programme, which proposed the urban reorganisation of the Plan defining the intervention, established urban principles that guided the conception of the new building towards the option of programmatic compaction. A bar-shaped building, a vertical prism, following the urban planning logic of Campo de Ourique. Within the framework of this planning, it is possible to evoke a group of remarkable buildings in the urban landscape of Lisbon, the Ritz Hotel being the clearest example of this characteristic. While the Ritz marks the ‘beginning of the way out of the city’, the new building will mark the ‘beginning of the way into the city’.
The ‘bar-shaped' configuration gives rise to two adjacent public spaces. To the east, a level square of a more formal and urban nature, shaped by the layout of the surrounding architecture, and providing a green ‘buffer’ of protection. To the west, a more organic and topographical garden took place.
The project dedicates the ground level of the building (plateau of Campo de Ourique) to its commercial areas (1,770 sq.m), adjacent to the public space along the whole perimeter. On its base, the building relates to the street on all sides (east, west, north and south), without a front or a back, in a way that maximises the activation of the public sphere. The four points of access to the apartments contained on the ten upper floors are also situated on this level and were designed to maximise the range of typologies with two intersecting fronts, (east and west), optimising ventilation and natural light.
The services (4,243 sq.m) are situated on the topographical inflexion of the plateau, embedded into the hillside and giving continuity to the man-made landscape of the former Caneja Quarry, now decommissioned, while also establishing an intermediate level between Campo de Ourique and Rua Maria Pia.
In the façade, the recreation of the three-centred arch emerges as a principle of modelling the elevation, capable of guaranteeing the horizontality of the proposal and being at the very same time a memory device. Not just associated with the moment of entering the city via Monsanto and the aqueduct, but also an association with a vernacular spatiality, providing context with a more domestic environment. The arch is a bridge between traditional Portuguese architecture and the urban and contemporary act of inhabiting, and finally is an expression of the spatial organisation of the ensemble.
The introduction of balconies around the whole perimeter of the building sought to promote the extension of domestic spaces outwards. The elements of wrought iron, typical to Lisbon, propose a final element linking the homes with the city, a barrier that is visually permeable, functioning as a solar, visual and sound filter.