Photos: Daniel Malhão
Maritime Control Tower of the Port of Lisbon
Due to its function and its geographical position, the Maritime Traffic Coordination and Control Center of the Port of Lisbon assumes an exceptional presence in the river, operating in the transition between land and water. Aimed at controlling the traffic of a vast maritime and river area, the new architectural structure seeks its symbolic meaning, similar to other constructions that, throughout history, have been built on the riverfront.
From the connotation to “power” to its military and strategic derivations, the tower’s verticality suggests control and ritualises the relationship between earth and sky. On the other hand, the horizon line, the marginal front and the jetty of the port, in their panoramic approximation, constitute conceptual references of horizontality. The plane of water also expresses fluidity, containing, in addition to its own movement, the movement of traffic that “slides” on its surface, acquiring a dynamic valence that is confronted with the immobility of the earth and the tower. These two ideas, horizontality and movement, are found in the image of the building sliding in its support (the jetty), a suggestion of near-suspension stimulated by the oblique rise of the volume, imparting the tension of an (apparent) imbalance.
Following the classical order of architecture with a basement in stone, an elevation covered with copper and a cornice of “light” and transparent glass, illuminated by night like a lighthouse, it virtually dissolves in the air emitting sine- curves of radio and radar waves, of “VHF” and “GPS” functioning 24 hours a day.