Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Jardins da Arrábida
Versatile housing with flexibility and durability
The project is surrounded by a diversity of seemingly unplanned uses such as hotels, residences, hospitals and shopping centres all close to the A1 motorway and the Arrábida Bridge crossing the Douro River. The commission observes what exists and promotes actions to bridge and consolidate the operation, albeit halted in the 1980s. Careful about the orientation, lighting and natural ventilation, it completes the housing voids with a regular and modular strategy, taking special care of the spatial and environmental qualification of the public space and in the central and perimeter rationalization of the accessibility.
Typologies are designed for larger or smaller households and for longer or shorter-term dwellers. The structural unit is home to formal diversity that provides the organizational and distributive variation of the apartments. A formal modulating and disciplining vocabulary regulates intervention both externally and internally. This structural and formal rationalization wedges the place with a hegemony capable of establishing and absorbing the existing conditions. As such, relationships and proportions of neighbourhood that are important for contemporary times are created, shared and fed respectively by the added and inherited volumes. Modular and linear vertical gardens produce a discourse of mutability in formal and material regularity. Structural frames accommodate versatile and changeable housing units with materials that express flexibility and durability.