Center for Environmental Education and Interpretation of the Protected Landscape of Corno de Bico / Atelier da Bouça

Center for Environmental Education and Interpretation of the Protected Landscape of Corno de Bico / Atelier da Bouça - More Images+ 7

Paredes de Coura, Portugal
  • Foundations And Structure, Fire Safety And Insulation: Civi4 | Eng.º Alberto Figueiredo
  • Plumbing: Civi4 | Eng.º Pedro Couto
  • Electrical: Auditene | Eng.º Silva Fernandes
  • HVAC: Auditene | Eng.º Carlos Guimarães
  • Acoustics: Sopsec | Eng.º Rui Calejo
  • Construction: Carlos José Fernandes & C.ª Lda, Eng.º Carlos Loureiro. Encarregados: Sr. Abel Rodrigues Silva e Eng.º Cláudio Barbosa
  • Project Architects: Filipa Guerreiro e Tiago Correia
  • Collaborators: Mathilde Bauchet e Filipa Fernandes (projeto), Jorge Santos Silva e Rui Alves (obra)
  • City: Paredes de Coura
  • Country: Portugal
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© Arménio Teixeira


Located in Cha Lamas (Vascões, Paredes de Coura) the Environmental Center, the headquarters of the Protected Landscape of Corno de Bico, is inserted into the set of the old "Agricultural Settlement of Boalhosa" the work of Internal Settlement Board in the late 1950s. The settlement is a rare example of high residential quality and landscape planning in rural areas. During the initial project of the settlement, the houses of settlers were built, the community oven, the school and the teacher's home, with the church pending.


The CEIA project is based on a recovery strategy through a design review of the design from the 1950s, the factual analysis of existing buildings, proposing an occupation and implementation of new volumes using functional analogies and in order to interfere as little as possible in the overall image of the settlement. The proposed new volumes are always related to an existing one through small passages which make the transition between them, while keeping distances to enable the reading of each individual volume, and the combined reading of the two existing buildings from the south.

© Arménio Teixeira

Recover existing buildings in order to maintain their original features and clean the additions and changes that have occurred over the years of usage, ensuring the maintenance of the "modern" image.

The realization of new volumes is performed with exterior wood cladding, thus constituting an independent image in relation to the existing buildings, allowing the individual reading of each period, and assuming the natural component as the primary material, which is transformed into the language of the building as an entire image of the protected area, highlighting the modernity of the existing buildings.

Plans and Sections

Considering that it was not possible to insert the spaces of the documentation center into existing buildings due to their size, and that the required expansion would be excessive to guarantee the balance of the whole, it was necessary to find a space for this central part of the CEIA program. The finding that in the original plan, the central building of the project, the church, the public facilities associated to the square, was not built, led to the hypothesis of this space as one that would make more sense today to house the relevant equipment to streamline the square and preside over the whole project.

The location of this equipment has since been occupied by big massive trees that due to their characteristics of rigorous geometry and density were assumed as part of the project. The building appears as the negative of the mass, taking advantage of the space though an existing clearing and rising up to the treetops leaving only a glimpse of it as a "tree house" supported by a "forest" of pillars that blend with the tree trunks.

© Arménio Teixeira

Buildings: canteen, a former school

The school, a set of an interior space, covered and uncovered outdoor patio, as a principle of a single room with a direct relationship with the outside, was recovered (the roof framing and windows had been altered, and were replaced in the original logic) and served perfectly for a canteen, having to suffer only a small expansion, a small independent volume which concentrates all the technical area of the kitchen.

© Arménio Teixeira

Buildings: reception center, former home

The Teacher's Home was also recovered, keeping all its divisions and functions, transformed into a reception center allowing the researchers to keep its home character and expanded with a U shaped volume, with distributed dormitories and remaining support rooms for the general public.

© Arménio Teixeira

The square

The square was designed as a horizontal elevation and as a sounding board of the building that is hidden behind the trees, as a place of arrival, as the building door.

Various urban facilities were introduced (the park bench, the lake, drinking fountains, fragrant gardens and lighting), essential for this space to function both as a complement of the buildings and as a privileged space of events, for meeting and leisure of the population.

The covered square beneath the building was designed as an artificial island that stands out clearly from the rest of the ground, as a "natural" lobby, reception and group meeting area.

© Arménio Teixeira

Buildings: resource center, ramp and dinner

The volume rises from the ground, so as not to hurt the ground, one of the elements that characterizes it, and search the image of hanging tree hut, under the "Coca-bugs". It is suspended on a number of pillars, apparently organized chaotically, painted in various colors, blending into the tree trunks merging the two realities, natural and built. This series of columns is used not only with a structural function, but goes beyond the sheer volume and allows the launch of attraction points in the building through the pathways that draw from the square. Similarly, the access ramps to the covered area, and from here to the first floor, are used as paths not only for the built volume of masses, but also for the trees.

© Arménio Teixeira

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Project location

Address:4940 Paredes de Coura, Portugal

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Center for Environmental Education and Interpretation of the Protected Landscape of Corno de Bico / Atelier da Bouça" [Centro de Educação e Interpretação Ambiental da Paisagem Protegida do Corno de Bico / Atelier da Bouça] 28 May 2015. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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