Porto Urban Art Centre (Centro de Arte Urbana do Porto)
Function: Cultural Centre
Site location: Avenida da Ponte D. Luís I, Porto, Portugal
Date of birth: 1992
University / Institution : Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto
Before a terrain where there’s a need to resolve a city block that corresponds to an urban fracture (the result of the opening of Ponte D. Luís I Avenue right in the heart of the city of Porto) this building responds by finishing the quarry and the pre-existing ruin.
All the conception of the Urban Art Centre of Porto was based on a discussion about the building’s typology. By definition, urban art it’s materialized in a spontaneous, unexpected and ephemeral way. Therefore, the attempt to contain it in one place and in a confined program seems impossible and paradoxical. These assumptions led us to understand the importance of interpreting a project that is ephemeral – by undoing the preconceived idea of perpetual architecture – and which is deeply related to the city. The concept of the building motivated morphological, constructive and programmatic choices such as establishing a clear dialog, accessibility and transparency with the quarry.
Chasing and idea of lightness over the main avenue, Urban Art Centre of Porto “slightly lands” on the street, taking advantage of its inclination to draw not only the auditorium’s pending, but also the ramp that access to the different floors. This ramp, which repeats and extends longitudinally until the highest level, provides the construction of the project’ architectural promenade – providing the observer new vantage points over the city of Porto.
The predominantly light metallic structure of the Urban Art Centre of Porto aims to take the all idea to the limit. By designing the building as “ephemeral architecture” (and accepting the paradox of attempting to confine urban art in of only space) we considered the possibility of “dismantling” it, giving place to new interpretations for this area. Of its future “absense”, only three concrete walls would remain (unique heavy structural elements that sustained the main body), along with a new design of an improved public space, which benefits from the presence of the quarry and the ruin.
Author: Laura Leão