Oporto. Portugal

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San Cirilo community centre and office building

Nuno Valentim Lopes y Frederico Almeida d’Eça, arquitectos

FAD Awards finalist 2009  Architecture
Description Technical file

This is a building with a markedly social use that meets what could be defined as “new generation” needs, with the final result of an emblematic building made unique through the treatment of its interior courtyards.
It was in the late nineteen-nineties when the growth of immigration in Portugal became evident, a reality that led to the appearance of a series of requirements associated with the migratory influx; the evident and urgent need arose to review the reception and integration processes for these new citizens. It is in this context, characterised by the solidarity of the representatives of the António Vaz Pinto Parish and a numerous group of collaborators, that the need arose to develop this project.
The available site measured almost two thousand metres square: twenty metres in the front and a hundred metres in depth, with a highly irregular perimeter (unusual dimension and shape in the city of Porto). The functional programme was specified as the work went along, given that there was no previous building built for this particular social aid use. It was finally the actual development of the project that set the rules and gave rise to the building’s volumetry.
As a strategy for defining the layout of the plot, a first floor was defined that extends to occupy its entirety. On this surface rests the street-facing building, with a sequence of courtyards cut out in it in accordance with the requirements of natural light, the programme and the demands of the regulations.
The first cut-out, next to the interior wall of the building, defines a courtyard that is fundamental in the resolution of the main entrance, the separation of the programmes and the opening of the Centre to the street; the second courtyard has the purpose of illuminating the sequence of surgeries (medical, legal, employment, religious, management…) and the temporary accommodation (individual and for families); the most expressive cut-out occurs in the landscaped central courtyard that adopts a function specified in the social, leisure-related and pedagogical programme of the Centre where an independent volume houses polyvalent uses that include from a chapel to a dining room or a children’s space; finally, the courtyard situated at the opposite end to that of the street becomes a necessary service courtyard.

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Emplazamiento: Oporto. Portugal. Autores: Nuno Valentim Lopes y Frederico Eça, arquitectos. Colaboradores: Paola Monzio, Joana Sarmento y Margarida Ramos. Proyectos de especialidad: Prof. Eng. Vasco Peixoto de Freitas. Rodrigues Gomes & Associados. Penman. Gestión de obra y fiscalización: Eng. Domingos Sousa Coutinho y Eng. Vitor Loureiro. Contratista: Bascol. Promotor: Província Portuguesa da Companhia de Jesus. Fotografía: João Ferrand Fotografia.
Valentim Lopes, Nuno
4100-100 Porto, Portugal
Almeida d'Eça, Federico
4100-100 Porto, Portugal