Studio Class at AA School of Architecture
Studio Class at AA School of Architecture

A new landmark in Porto

This project was developed by Sze Yee Leong as a student from Queen's University Belfast and was submited to the WAS awards 2017 under the Facilities category.

Picking up on the Gothic-Romanesque style of the Porto Cathedral (Sé do Porto): the way it rises up to the sky gigantically bringing out a strong concept of the flowing of light into space. The single-story glass façade Café Do Cais that located along the Douro river performs the same concept by implementing the transparency of the façade. Light, a very important element in architecture design, darkness too. “The power of darkness” publicised by theguardian pointed out how crucial the loss of darkness has influenced human body mechanisms. Another publication by The Atlantic magazine writes about what darkness does to the human mind and how it affects people to perform immoral acts. These issues floating on the surface remain architect to play a part in investigating the relationship between spaces, light, darkness and social behaviours.

The client of this project is Portuguese Association of Organic Agriculture (AGROBIO) that established since 1985 in Porto. AGROBIO focuses on agricultural practices, maintaining food quality and issues on health and environment through different activities. The organic market is one of their projects.

Vertical lighting and the communication and interaction between people from different groups and status are the main driving force in the project. The Layout of the levels of the building from transparent market space up to enclosed meeting place and the offices creating a “sandwich” of transparent and opaque space. Holes punching through each floor at various locations allowing light to flow into the building vertically. The intention is to create a new landmark to the space, a rather outstanding one. The design will have a slightly higher height compare to the existing buildings. From the outside, the design will be creating an organic corner that seems to “grow” from the adjacent buildings. The design will adopt a clean, smooth and reflective facade (concrete) which is the same material as the local market. This is to create a link between the two spaces.