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The terrain being inserted in the suburb of Quarteira, it is an area that was purposely for created for cultural activity in the masterplan developed the area. The land allows for a certain permeability and connection to the existing urban fabric through the park in the southern part of the terrain. Given the nature and scale of the surroundings the morphology and aesthetic of the project is pure, discrete but also imposing due to the nature of the programme. The simplicity of the proposal should also allow for a clear understanding of the different volumes and functions that incorporate the building.

The project envisions a public and mineral square which allows for an organic continuance of the surroundings, both in the landscape and urban scale. Between the concrete blocks a suspended corridor extends the public realm and connects them. Covering the volumes, a concrete slab crowns the programme and gives a unity to the whole in a subtle architectural gesture. The central square, wide and bare, both the point of departure and arrival, it becomes a stage for activities and social interactions hence it creates an axis connecting itself to the wild natural park in the posterior façade of the Cultural Centre.

From the centre of the square outwards, two opposite poles were created to purposely separate the education and the cultural parts of the programme. On one side of the square, the Dance academy sits in a single volume of two storeys. The programme in the ground level has the studios around the gardens of the natural park, in the first floor the academy is connected to the cultural centre through the suspended corridor. On the opposite side of the square the public cultural programme is situated in the form of two main volumes, one lower block with two storeys and a higher semi-buried block with four storeys.

The access to the Cultural Centre is through the ramped square that gives a crescent sensorial monumentality to the building as one approximates to the main entrance in the lower central volume. The entrance which leads to the Foyer, which connects the user to the Auditorium, black box, store, café as well as the administrative area. The alternative access to the building is through the corridor which begins at the street level and connects to the foyer through a public ramp behind the Auditorium building. This ramp revolves a small garden patio and arrives in front of the auditorium entrance in the inferior level allowing for a glass mural to permeate the light inside the foyer. Conceptually the suspended corridor is to be open and public at all times, guaranteeing the autonomy of the library and dance academy in relation to the Cultural Centre.

For the Façade, the building has a pre-fabricated and exterior concrete skin composed of modular slabs. Only differing in height, the consistency of the measurements throughout the façade of the project allows for a rapid and less costly production of the concrete slabs. Slabs that should be assembled in-loco. This skin, given its depth acts as a brises-soleil to the interior guaranteeing comfort for the functions to be carried out on the inside of the building. The orientation of the building is created to have the areas of most permanence such as the administrative areas and café facing the south facades with the best solar exposure, having sunlight throughout the entire day. Facing north are the functions that don’t need as much light, such as the bathrooms and circulation areas. The dance academy benefits from a south-east/north-west disposition allowing for the brises-like façade to filter the light and allowing for an indirect type of lighting to enter the studio rooms and classrooms.

Renders: Axel Fangueiro