Learning centres

Barreiro. Portugal

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Barreiro College of Technology

ARX Portugal, Arquitectos. José Mateus y Nuno Mateus, arquitectos

FAD Awards finalist 2009  Architecture
Description Technical file

The town of Barreiro, in Portugal, is the site of this interesting built university complex that, through a marked geometry and a compositional scenographic pattern of gaps and solids, finds a solution for a complex functional programme.

The space where this suite of constructions stands is on the outskirts of the town of Barreiro. This is a series of recently developed spaces dominated by new-build dwellings next to plots with a rural appearance, typical of the urban periphery and lacking in the necessary public facilities to transform into a city what is still nothing more than a suburb with very little life and no urban quality whatsoever.
The site, however, is quite obliging when it comes to its dimensions: ample, gently sloping and well-connected with its shape –an unevenness of four metres from north to south, limiting at one end with a dense forest of cork oaks and pine trees of large dimensions.

The concerns of the neighbours with regard to the possible consequences of a profound change in scale as a consequence of the vast building programme has to a large extent conditioned the final result of this project that explicitly seeks to penetrate the topography with the aim of minimising its impact on the landscape. To this end the principle was established of giving the building a somewhat ambiguous character. On one hand it filters, dissipates and accepts the predominance of natural elements; on the other, it behaves as an artificial element of abstract origin and manages to maintain a difficult typological and spatial balance in this fragile frontier space between the rural and the urban landscape.

The architecture becomes more topographical in certain parts of the complex, in such a manner that there is no way of telling where the nearby urban environment begins or ends, while on the opposite side, with more present and formalised limits, the architecture acquires greater presence.

Of the built complex, one of the bodies –the faculty building—clad in dark grey panels and very slender, rises up to establish its presence as an urban landmark, thus configuring a new urban benchmark.

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Emplazamiento: Quinta dos Fidalguinhos, Barreiro. Portugal. Autores: ARX Portugal, Arquitectos. José Mateus y Nuno Mateus. Equipo de proyecto: Paulo Rocha, Stefano Riva, Andreia Tomé, Clara Martins, Marco Roque Antunes, Nuno Grancho, Pedro Alves, Pedro Dourado, Pedro Sousa, Tânia Pedro, Francisco Marques, Sónia Luz. Paisajismo: Global, Arquitectura paisajística. Ingeniería de estructuras: TAL Projecto, Projectos, Estudos e Projectos de Engenharia. Planificación eléctrica y de telecomunicaciones, planificación seguridad y planificación mecánica: AT, Serviços de Engenharia Electrontécnica e Electrónica. Planificación sanitaria: Aquadomus, Consultores. Constructor: Obrecol. Promotor: Instituto Politécnico de Setúbal. Fotografía: FG + SG - Fotografia de Arquitectura.
Mateus, José
1200-808 Lisboa, Portugal
Mateus, Nuno
1200-808 Lisboa, Portugal
ARX Arquitectos
1200-808 Lisboa, Portugal
Fernando Guerra (Estudio FG+SG)
1900-271 Lisboa, Portugal