Design TeamJosé Carlos Soares, Joana Catarino, Carolina Leite
StructureHDP, Gabinete de serviços e projectos de engenharia civil, Lda.
ElectricalIgemaci Engenharia S.A.
CarpintersHenriques e Rodrigues Lda.
AVACAr Puro Lda.
Electricity and DrainageElectro Clara Lda.
Text description provided by the architects. Almost every project begins with a site visit.
For the architect, almost always, the site is a piece of land, or else an interior. On this occasion it is an interior which also is an exterior. The new Revigrés offices have very clear parameters set out by their future users: proximity to the new production area, functionality, sustainability and if possible identity and harmony.
Initially I thought that proximity was necessary in relation to the production line, but in a building that would be separate to the other pavilions of Unit 2, and so, I saw these parameters as having a different weight and interpretation.
At the site visit, I was surprised by the necessity and intention of making the new building within an existing one. Surprised, somewhat perplexed, pleased with the challenge that spices up our professional role, amazed by the complexity and automation of the production chain and by the constant construction and transformation of the equipment and technology.
Here and there, were some slightly odd, makeshift materials that clashed with the high-tech nature of the equipment, the production process and the materials produced, which in a certain way conceal the chemistry and the mechanics of this process of transforming matter.
A very large box that must have been used to safely transport some piece of equipment, now waited to be moved along and to be transformed into something new, something made possible by the material itself and by the ingenuity of the people who master these new technologies. Containers that are designed and made to measure, used and then later, are re-used within a logic of functionality and responsible sustainability.
The new offices for Revigrés are located inside Unit 2, at its southern end; they will be nothing more than containers, large boxes where people will work, but, not without some exposure to the heat and noise inherent in the production of ceramics.
As happens with the customized boxes for transporting particular pieces, it was necessary to interpret the particular needs and requirements of the clients and users, the technical parameters, deadlines and economy in relation to expenditure and means.
As the project progressed, there was a shared desire to create something that would be sustainable. As is often the case in this type of process, some values become banal and some words become vulgarized; sustainability losses its noble character and becomes a buzz word used as a label likewise for things that are good and for things that are mediocre.
This project is sustainable because there is a strong will to be sustainable and because, this willingness itself is sustained by reasons which are beyond those of mere necessity.
The containers have a softwood structure; the walls, floors and ceilings are made out of chipboard panels. The thermal and acoustic insulation is provided by black expanded cork agglomerate. The floors and walls of the sanitary installations are clad in ceramic tiles.
Simple containers in timber and glass, embodying the intentions of the people who commissioned them, the people who worked the timber and made up the frames and the people who designed them so that they could accommodate people and goods in harmony with the environment, while satisfying the requirements of productivity. So, the materials for making the box become the materials for the finishes and for comfort.
In a hopefully distant future, these containers can be transformed into other containers, boxes and crates, in a logic of sustainability that the human mind will forever be capable of re-inventing.