Author: Tiago Farinha (group phase with Juliana Gonçalves, Luis Mesquita, Pedro Miranda and Tiago Torre)
Function: Urban Project
Site location: Porto, Campanhã
City and date of birth: Lisbon, 1990
University / Institution : Faculdade de Arquitectura da Universidade do Porto (FAUP)
Tutors: Architect Luís Pedro Silva
The exercise developed individually in the 5th year studio was based on the strategy proposed by the working group mentioned above. The studio focused on a subdivision of the city of Porto – Campanhã, the eastern part of the city and one of the most undeveloped. It´s an area that used to be occupied with leisure properties belonging to the rich families of Porto, in the XVIIIth century. That’s noticeable as we look at some remaining grand Manor houses like Quinta da Bonjóia, Freixo Palace or Quinta da Revolta, for instance. These houses later became crucial points in this area from where the narrow paths and streets spread out through the hills, connecting the highest points of the farm houses to the lowest points, where the orchards and agriculture fields were located.
The topography is defined by two rivers going south – river Tinto and river Torto – that mark the ridge line where currently the main street passes, also from north to south. The southern limit is the riverfront of the Douro River, where the other two rivers flow into.
This is a rural zone of Porto where development was obstructed by the construction of several motorways, creating a wall that prevents access to this area. Later, the construction of social housing disconnected to the surrounding urban fabric also contributed to aggravate the segregation of this neighborhood.
The group idea was to solve these problems through the creation of programs that could help to connect and relate this area to the city of Porto and the city of Gondomar. Therefore, the project aimed to consolidate this rural scale and connect it to the oriental Park of the city of Porto (already started by the municipality). In the end, we wanted to create and attribute these three rivers programs for leisure and public gardens as a way of impeding and delimitating the urban expansion that is predictable to happen in this area in a few years.
The crucial problem was to intervene while using the correct scale, in a way that, on the one hand, it wouldn’t be innocuous, and on the other hand, would respect the streets designed by habit and by foot. This way, instead of developing the project by selecting areas, we dissected several axes, which became the individual parts of our study. Each one of these axis contained different scales, objectives, as well as other sub-axis and their associated programs.
The main concern of the individual proposal was the public space: the relationship between Meiral Street – sort of main street that divides the mountain in two slopes with one river on each side – and the lowlands in connection with the rivers. By understanding the rizomatic structure that once connected fields and houses (placed in higher ground, avoiding the risk of flooding), the solution was to attribute leisure programs to green areas and enhance the main street for pedestrian circulation, small commerce and housing. Instead of one central point of urban living, the idea was to create a lineal centre.
Concerning this path, four spots were elected for a closer intervention: 1) the soccer field, to be re-qualified; 2) the S. Pedro Church Square, for pedestrians; 3) the Costa Barreto square, important in the connection with the different paths leading to the new East City Park (partially constructed); 4) and the junction with the Rio da Vila street, where the new could exemplify the scale that future interventions should seek.
The entire design was concerned with the geological and material characteristics of the region, having granite and shale and their respective formal vocations as a main theme for the intervention, in order to create pavements and walls that would unite all the levels and differentiate paths from resting places.