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Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal
Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.

São Cirilo Community Centre in Porto, Portugal by Nuno Valentim and Frederico Eça

June 14th, 2012 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: Nuno Valentim and Frederico Eça

With an area of approximately 2000 squared meters (20m by 100m) and an irregular geometry, the plot had uncharacteristic dimensions and form for the city of Porto. The program was built along with the project – never before had a building in Portugal been specifically designed for the social integration of immigrants. With these uncertainties we looked for clues in our immediate surroundings – we found warehouses, small factories, landfills and illegal constructions…

Street view

  • Architects: Nuno Valentim Lopes, Frederico Eça/ Nuno Valentim, Arquitectura e Reabilitação LDA
  • Project: São Cirilo Community Centre
  • Location: Rua Barão de Forrester, Porto, Portugal
  • Collaborating Architects: Paola Monzio, Joana Sarmento e Margarida Ramos
  • Developer: Província Portuguesa da Companhia de Jesus
  • Project/ Construction Dates: 2002/ 2008
  • Plot Area: 2050 m2
  • Construction Area: 2215 m2
  • Engineering Team: Prof. Eng. Vasco Peixoto de Freitas, Rodrigues Gomes e Associados, Penman
  • Constructor: Bascol
  • Project Manager and Supervisor: Domingos Sousa Coutinho Lda
  • Photography: João Ferrand/Mariana Themudo
  • Awards: Finalist of FAD award 2009

Entrance Gallery

Our urban strategy led us to define a horizontal plane that would extend to the plot limits, where we cut out a sequence of courtyards/patios according to the need of natural lighting, the program itself and legal requirements. Facing the street, the office building is set on this slab. Leaning against the inside face of the office building, the first void marks the entrance to the Centre, sets the office building and the Centre apart, and defines the relationship between the Centre and the street.

Entrance Patio

The second patio was created to illuminate the immigration support offices (medical, legal, employment, religious) and temporary accommodation (individual and family rooms). The garden is the most significant cut-out in the covering, and serves the unifying area of the Centre: a multi-purpose room (dining / living area / small auditorium), workshops, classrooms, a playground and an independent volume, the Chapel (ecumenical space).

Exhibition Corridor

Finally, the service courtyard at the opposite end in relation to the street, serves the laundry, toilet and washing area.
Despite all constraints, delays and uncertainties, our aim was to design a house with plenty of light and humanity, trusting that architecture will help bring hope to the immigrants it will host.

Central Patio

Multipurpose Room

Immigration Support Room



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Category: Community Centre

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