José Neves recenlty won the first prize in the competition for the project of the Centro de Artes do Carnaval in the city of Torres Vedras, Portugal. The jury noted that the design organizes the spaces for public use in an optimal way, allowing for a visitor’s path which is logical, organized and consequential. The proposal suggests the building as a unifying idea for the site starting from a balance between the contest specifications and the site characteristics, an innovative approach to the Slaughter House building, a relevant interpretation of the existing urban language and the consequent formulation of an architectural language which reinvents the site. More images and architects’ description after the break.
Situated close to one of the accesses to the city of Torres Vedras, within walking distance from its historical centre, the proposed site for the Centro de Artes do Carnaval is marked by two singular elements: on the one hand, the old Slaughter House which, before being closed down, was a focus of urban life in the small fragmented neighbourhood which surrounded it and still keeps its icon status; on the other hand, the crater of an old abandoned quarry. This crater consists of a large platform, currently inaccessible, and a cliff, whose dimension and material – stone – lend the whole space a dreamlike touch.
The main building of the old Slaughter House, where the Arts Centre spaces more directly linked to the outside are structured – the atrium, auditorium, documentation centre and the temporary exhibition room -, is rehabilitated. A new body, hanging over this building and vertically connected to it from its original ambulatory, hosts the permanent exhibition which, having a series of views to the outside world and to the city, extends itself to the outside space defined by the quarry.
The body containing the remaining Museum collection is prolonged until it reaches the cliffs by means of a stone-like surface which seems to come out of the rock. This surface, whose genesis of the shape – an ellipse – results from the geometry suggested by the crater, makes up together with the cliffs the limits of a square over the existing platform. The covered terrace of the museum bar and the continuous façade formed by the arts’ workshops are central to liven up this new public square which, under the pretext of the Centro de Artes do Carnaval, is being offered to the small neighbourhood and the town.
Architect: José Neves Location: Torres Vedras, Portugal Collaborators: Rui Sousa Pinto, André Matos, Fernando Freire, Sara Brandão, Vitor Quaresma Landscape Architect: Victor Beiramar Diniz (JLCG) Engineering: BETAR; SM&LM; Natural Works Promotor: Câmara Municipal de Torres Vedras Date: 2011