Europan 12 urban project competition for Porto Brandão – Almada [PT] ; Competition Team: Ana Quelhas, Beatrice Azzola and Rodrigo Lino Gaspar; 2014
The theme The Adaptable City emerges as the theme of Europan 12 at a time of economic and ecological transformation. Given these changes, the time factor is presented in parallel as a new element in urban design.
The city is a Being adaptable to geographical and topographical conditions, evolving and adapting to several ages, growing or condensing. Today, after an economic cycle of intense construction, and a spurt of suburbs dedicated to housing [dorms], there is a need to solve the problems resulting from this un- restrained growth. This intervention area was converted from large spreads of farmland to pieces of a sprawling city: university centers at one point, massive housing at another, and industry surrounded by ecological reserve areas [REN]. Nowadays we find that these places are disjoined, connected to large urban centers and major roads, but detached from the reality of the existing site.
Time is a mastery of difficult work: the art of predicting the future is somewhat uncertain. The economic forecast is based on specific factors and constraints, but their performance may be uncertain. The human being is unpredictable, but maintains a logical behavior, changeable depending on new variables. To create a spatiotemporal project that withstands the change of time, it should be like us – unpredictable – but more adapted to a methodology and to way of thinking, like a common thread.
The intervention aims to create various points of intervention on pre-existing elements, capable of making new connections and fix programs that create city experiences, in order to cross various people in common use spaces. The interventions are independent from each other, so that they may be performed at any time, depending on the rhythm, providing great exibility and adaptability to the development in spatial and temporal terms.
Increasingly, the human being sees the landscape, and all its related factors, as a privilege which must be preserved. It is important, however, not to forget economic development, without leaving behind ecology. These two goods are necessary for the coexistence between nature and humanity, as we believe it is essential to create a symbiosis through a strategy that connects various factors, such as time factors (life rhythms, day/night rhythms, seasons, generations), activities (to boost the economy) and environmental factors (nature conservation).
The Tagus estuary is unquestionably an example of landscape evolution at various levels, and over time has tended to become more and more “nature friendly”, thanks not only to the growing awareness regarding ecological preservation, but also due to the awareness that many people from Lisbon district have gained about the privilege to see such a beautiful scenery that this estuary is, wherever the point of view is at.
Porto Brandão is a place that needs a new life, the ability to regenerate itself, regenerate the population and its dynamics, in order to gain back the rhythm it lost during the XX century, while it is a seductive and an inviting place.
We believe that this intervention network will meet the goals of an adaptable city: the idea of re-using the existing sites, leveraging new uses in vacant build- ings; recovering older constructions to avoid excessive consumption of space, enabling them to become resilient, and respecting all of the temporal factors that exist in any city; building new programs that are durable and will endure over time, creating sustainable economic activities for the future.
Porto Brandão can become an example of urban restructuring and resilience – in other words, a place able to recover functions and develop itself after a crisis, as a way of avoiding an excessive exodus of population to other cities, and the abandonment of this place. Throughout our proposed study, we hope to improve the living conditions of the population, or the village, or the territory of the estuary, and expect that these changes may be a starting point for gradual improvement