coauthor: Manuel Mateus
Lisbon Cruise Terminal
The history of the city of Lisbon can be told through its relation with the river. The morphological form of the city develops from two main directions in connection to the river, a parallel one and the other perpendicular. The transition between the longitudinal platforms and the orthogonal buildings ends up defining the matrix of the built settlement, but also of the empty spaces between the successive warehouses.
The cruise tourism is transforming the classic concept of tourist travelling where the means of transport was a need but not an end. The visited port tends to be a temporary visiting place, but unlike the container boat, it is mainland of the real city where one can feel the thickness of time, history, and memory. In its turn, the city-ship is designed to be lived as continuous entertainment, without history, and where the thickness of time is erased. From the top of its decks, one contemplates the slow parade of the arriving city in all its stratified complexity, and a desire to emerge in this magnificent specific reality starts to emphasise.
The architectural form is discovered as a temporal reminiscence of the city’s increasingly evanescent cultural memory to become pure and radical spatiality, to the detriment of a new fictional self-referential artefact that attempts to compete, ingloriously, with the characteristic condition of the cruise ship itself. More than a mimicry of the formal system of the port warehouses of the beginning of the last century, the architectural form assumes a contemporary interpretation that departs from the systemic character of that presence, or what remains of it with the erosion of time, and creates a new tectonic system, which however assimilates fragments of the pre-existence, now recycled into other uses for the city.
Resulting from a cultural rather than tactile and physical legacy, the new architectural presence is re-dug, drilled, and delimited, defining a spatiality and temporality that contains the various spheres that transit between a city-ship, strongly fictional, and the real city.
The proposal aims to generate a city fabric defining a public space, with non-existent characteristics in the city of Lisbon, containing two distinct squares: the Alfândega square, mineral, static, fully open to the sea, and the transports interface, dynamic and vibrant in light and shadow, designing a gradual transition between the Terminal and the Avenida Infante D. Henrique, through the mediation of a cycle-pedestrian traffic lane, which eventually crosses green and wooded pavement. Depending on the seasonality and varying intervals of cruises, this large square can host different public events (parades, sporting events, shows, concerts, etc.), contributing to reinforcing urban animation.
The occupation along almost one kilometre of quay front by the areas related to the logistics of cruises, requires the retreat of the cycle-pedestrian strip, resuming the visual contact with the river only in the perpendicular squares. By proposing a built-in accompaniment in which the repetitive array of roofs limits a porous spatiality between full and empty spaces, the temporary withdrawal from the river can acquire other enriching experiences.