Olhão Riverside Park


We recognized that the transformation implicit in the contest took place at a critical moment in which a clarification of urban role, condition and functionality, emerged as crucial to the landscape’s recovery. The same clarifications were equally important for a suitable urban insertion and completion, and also to guarantee that the area of the salt flats find a stable border, valuable their non-directly productive qualities.

Our proposal arose from two primary converging apparently opposed intentions: the first one was to provide a comfortable and welcoming public space; the second to ensure the permanence of a rude beauty, deeply rooted in the scale of the landscape and the territory of the Ria. This second intention never adopted the approach of nature preservation, but one of the developing the possibilities offered by the diversity of its occupation matrix, essential and applicable to the proposed design.

The formalization of these intentions referred to the unique features of the Ria and the salt, to the tides’ design and the marks furrowed by drainage lines in its silty layers. These traces express a dynamic movement, a precise rhythm and direction of a convergence ceaseless activity in the flow paths, almost capillary in origin and progressively more powerful until they lose themselves in the sea.

The proposal was based on the exploitation of this genetic matrix to promote paths and meeting places away from major crossings and the interconnection between disconnected spaces linked in a single movement, spilling out into the Ria. In another way, the transformation of this forgotten periphery of Olhão, was translated into the comprehension of landscape resources and its overall system, its intrinsic fragilities and new circumstances emerging from the competition program.

Where drawing was concerned, the proposal was developed by the accommodation of the two fundamental axes, which, from external orientations from north to south and east to west determined the internal and functional organization of the park. The first axis, originating in the Avenida 5 de Outubro, projected the promenade to the heart of the intervention, defining the main entrance and delimiting the central square – a receptor space crucial in the organization of the main patterns of use and significant as a mediator and urban limit. This axis would terminate in a covered structure, a scenic

portico over the mouth of the Ria. A second axis originating from the north would accompany the development of the avenue in the extension that connects to the N125 Road. This infrastructure projected to the Ria over the plain of water of Caldeira, would subsume the entire functional and thematic organization of the different areas of the park, as well as incorporating pedestrian and cycling accessibilities of supra-urban logic.

The proposal was based on the allocation of a phased implementation which allowed different evolutionary mechanisms, adaptable to distinct types of funding – public, private and auto-funding – and to any new public demands that might arise. The solutions were defined as an operative base on which different times and forms of appropriation could be superimposed.

We presented in the contest a high degree of ambition in the sense of implementing in this landscape a significant positive change, creating new tendencies of land appropriation. Our goal was to create a revitalized landscape able to build itself from a strategy of implementation over time, on one hand as a ‘live museum’ adapted to the local residents and summer tourists, and on the other, as a significant source of revenue attracting cultural and urban investment

Project Gallery

Project Map

View Larger Map