Cais da Fontinha / Alexandre Burmester Arquitectos Associados

Courtesy of

Architects: Alexandre Burmester Arquitectos Associados - Alexandre Burmester, André Lopes Cardoso
Location: Margina de Gaia, Oporto,
Client: Soarta – Soc. Imobiliária Soares da Costa, SA
Collaborators: Arch.s Jose Carlos Gonçalves, Fátima Burmester, Jorge Toscano
Completion: 2010
Area: 6,000 sqm
Coast: 4,000,000 €
Photographs: Courtesy of Alexandre Burmester Arquitectos Associados


Courtesy of Alexandre Burmester Arquitectos Associados

The ware houses are on the riverside road looking out over the River Douro. Given the width of the road, they are almost part of the river. They are located at Cais de CapeloIvens, half way between the D. Luís Bridge and Arrábida Bridge. They form an angle with Rua Viterbo de Campos, a narrow road running behind them, and are also served by the Escadas das Fontaínhas steps.

Courtesy of Alexandre Burmester Arquitectos Associados

In general, the buildings were highly dilapidated and only the walls and structures have been renovated. The renovation project for the buildings entailed their reconstruction and maintenance as a way of preserving the quality of the construction and merging them into their surroundings. The main goal of the plan was to take advantage of the buildings, by reinventing their forms and making the most of their location.

Courtesy of Alexandre Burmester Arquitectos Associados

In their relationship with the river and their setting, it will be necessary to take into account that any space or use to be developed must always be associated with the river, even if only through the views that it offers. The buildings’ potential uses were developed in a mixed fashion in order to create multi-functionality so that they can attract diversified, complementary interests.

Courtesy of Alexandre Burmester Arquitectos Associados

We have therefore created spaces for business and housing. The business areas will be on the ground floor and the residential areas on the floors above. The solutions for occupation of the spaces were based on the buildings’ possibilities, which are exemplified in the attached floor plans.

Courtesy of Alexandre Burmester Arquitectos Associados

The warehouses were rebuilt with the same type of old materials, following some of their original forms. The main structure is made of reinforced concrete, while the structure of the upper floors is metal. The new roofs are made of laminated timber. The proposed finishings show a concern for quality and a contemporary image.

A complex of this nature requires high-quality work. It is not enough to develop the space; it is also necessary to add a contemporary, modern image. This was taken into consideration during the development, along with respect for and integration into its setting. The proposed spaces and their forms seek to express these concepts.

2nd floor plan

On the one hand, the existing buildings have been restored to make them appear as a harmonised whole, and on the other hand additional forms have been introduced to break with tradition and make them stand out.

Cite: "Cais da Fontinha / Alexandre Burmester Arquitectos Associados" 13 Jun 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <>
  • rsantosfernandes

    no explanation for the structures at the top?
    the realibitaçãois is well done … but those structures at the top …
    they do not merge with anything … seems something out of context setting there.
    was this the intention?