from the University of Texas at Austin.
Porto is an old city with a rich urban history. The most intriguing parts of the city was the public/private relationship to the street. For example, public entrances were sometimes located in dark, dingy openings, seemingly public stairs would lead to residences, and narrow alleyways would turn and open up into a fantastic open plaza with views to the water. .
This center for Portuguese culture is inspired by these delicate moments of discoveries. Rather than creating a conventional entry from the street side, the project calls for a processional entry from the side of the site. This side entry was initially an entrance plaza for the adjacent residents. This new processional entry to the culture center would be laid with pink stone leading to the museum. The stone fins located on the street side of the project suppresses this material as well as hides the dynamic movement of the plaza further encouraging the sense of discovery. Plazas are the cornerstone of Portugal’s urban life. This element of the project is considered the “red roof” for the city.
The culture center is comprised of three main programmatic elements: theater, museum, and archives. The theater is the first building that confronts the entry plaza as it is how the culture center conveys information and history to the public. The museum is the main building of the project as it fronts the plaza with a large window looking back as well as a large overhang. The overhang and the roof of the theater is where most of informal activities happen such as spaces for informal Fado concerts, skateboarding, and socializing spaces. The museum is into two main areas which are the galleries and the amenities. The gallery consists of spaces for artifacts, relics, film, documentaries, contemporary art, and sculptures. The amenity spaces contain spaces for workshops, lounges, meeting rooms, and a community display of arts. The openings of the museum are very intentional and distinctive as they interact with its surrounding context. The building opens towards the plaza, water, neighborhood, and bridge.