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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.

A Square In Summer (Cork Installation) in Lisbon, Portugal by José Neves

 
December 12th, 2017 by Sumit Singhal

Article source: José Neves

The construction of an object suitable for screening an open-air cinema programme was the pretext for transforming the Belém Cultural Center Square, in Lisbon (Manuel Salgado and Vittorio Gregotti, 1992), into a living space for the thousands of people who visit CCB during the summer months.

The square is a place of constant movement, with people crossing it, towards the museum, the Garagem Sul and the hanging garden that overlooks the river, Image Courtesy © Francisco Nogueira

  • Architects: José Neves
  • Project: A Square In Summer (Cork Installation)
  • Location: Lisbon, Portugal
  • Photography: Francisco Nogueira
  • Client: Garagem Sul – Centro Cultural de Belém
  • Collaborators: Diogo Amaro; Apolinário Silva (models)
  • Graphic Design: Atelier Pedro Falcão
  • Curator: André Tavares
  • Sponsorship: Amorim Isolamentos
  • Project year: 2017
  • Construction year: 2017

The cork frame to the entrance is 4.2m high before descending to the constant height with which the wall runs along the square, Image Courtesy © Francisco Nogueira

There were three fundamental circumstances for the project, namely:

1) The Square is a place of constant movement, providing access to the Museum, the restaurant and the hanging garden overlooking the river;

2) The architecture of the CCB building is ruled by a metric made evident by the grid marked out on the ground, the repetition of the cleft limestone slabs, and the design and arrangement of the openings;

3) The blocks of black cork composite, which was the material defined by the client a priori .

The panelling-like lining runs along the 68m south wall that encloses the square, in the shade for nearly the whole day, Image Courtesy © Francisco Nogueira

The cork wall is a modulated wall whose rhythm keeps in step with the metrics that govern the architecture of the CCB, Image Courtesy © Francisco Nogueira,

We designed a wall in black cork, creating a paneling-like lining along the south wall which stays in the shade for nearly the whole day, integrating a bench, cool and comfortable, that allows one to contemplate the urban spectacle of the movement in the Square.

Like in many Italian palaces, a bench allows one to contemplate the urban spectacle or, if one prefers, to be on his own, Image Courtesy © Francisco Nogueira

Image Courtesy © Francisco Nogueira

The cork wall is itself a modulated wall whose internal metrics establish a rhythm that keeps in step with the metrics that govern the architecture of the CCB, and whose height is that of the base of the existing concrete arch, giving a human scale to the entire square. At the western end, the wall turns and closes the existing pathway, making a corner where it is possible to watch the films sheltered from the wind, at night.

At the western end of the square, the wall turns, making a corner in which to view films sheltered from the wind, Image Courtesy © Francisco Nogueira

The height of the wall — 2.8m — is the height of the base of the existing concrete arch that visually opens the square to the city, Image Courtesy © Francisco Nogueira

The material qualities of cork will thus mean that the transformation of the square will not only be about experiencing its new scale, but also about perceiving its materiality. By joining the solid blocks of cork, whose color is made of a thousand brown tones that change over time and with a texture that is rude, soft and warm all at once, the slabs of cleft limestone that clad the walls of the CCB building became lighter, more fragile.  There was probably not a single person crossing the square without coming over to touch the cork with their hands.

Rather than construct an object, this was about finding a solution that would have the capacity to transform a Square in Summer.

The height of the wall — 2.8m — is the height of the base of the existing concrete arch that visually opens the square to the city, Image Courtesy © Francisco Nogueira

With the presence of the wall, of its form, materiality, colour, light and shade, our perception shifts constantly, Image Courtesy © Francisco Nogueira

The reading of a temporary work can be permanent, lasting in the memory of those who experience it, Image Courtesy © Francisco Nogueira

Vertical and horizontal edges were treated differently, some being left sharp and others rounded off, so that they resisted and aged differently, Image Courtesy © Francisco Nogueira

By joining the solid, smooth and warm blocks of cork to the slabs of limestone, the existing wrapping became lighter, Image Courtesy © Francisco Nogueira

Rather than an object, it was about reaping advantage of the existing space, profoundly redefining its character, Image Courtesy © José Neves

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Category: Cultural Center

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