Paulo David arquitecto

ATLÂNTICO SWIMMING POOLS . SALINAS PROMENADE . CÂMARA DE LOBOS

photos: courtesy of FG+SG – Fotografia de Arquitectura . Paulo David

This intervention in the town of Câmara de Lobos struck us as a unique opportunity.
It came about as part of a competition run by the Regional Government with the objective of fostering reflexion on a short but important stretch of coastline along the western shore of the island’s capital.
Working in such an extreme locale, both beautiful and weathered by social and physical erosion, it was important to make a thorough examination of the site, stripping it down to its bare essentials.
The intense predominance of the Atlantic Ocean, the rugged, layered escarpment that juts into it, the pebble beach and the presence of agricultural plots, the faces of the fisherman, weathered by hard life at sea, and the breathtaking views that unveil the idiosyncrasy of a place that wants to be revealed and understood. The most surprising characteristic of this coastal site is the sinuous shoreline, configured by the violent cooling of lava flows that deposited a rocky, rugged and porous massif that grants the plot a rare limitrophic balance between water and land.





Time-honoured occupations that have survived at the site to this day, such as a highly artisanal catfish drying industry, which results in a product known regionally as “island code”, and the salt mines in the rocky terrain from which the site – Salinas – would later take its name, lend the location an easily recognisable sensorial dimension.
Extreme and dangerous walkways, high walls and abandoned lots characterise this site. Working in a space as sensitive as the land’s end, the project reconstructs a part of this telluric seascape through a profound analysis of the interpretation of the terrain and an understanding of the aims of the programme. The intervention uses some of the existing features and extends the compositional principles of the site, after the territorial tradition of the island, with the operation achieving definition in successive walls and platforms, creating an area that can be perceived as an accessible entity, visually and thematically connected.
The project stove to act on and articulate different aspects, layering the programme and allowing for autonomous functioning while reducing the overall impact. It creates a circuit of walkways, giving continuity to an old ocean-side path and the town bulwark and articulating it with a coastal trail. The complex manages to overcome the discrepancy in elevation between the upper and lower levels of the intervention, taking full advantage of the sea views.
A long, high wall delimits and articulates Das Salinas, maintaining a constant dialogue with the sea. This thickset wall softens and shores up the steep embankment. Not only does this serve as a stabilising buttress – it also houses all of the programme’s seafront facilities. This volcanic stone wall, highly reminiscent of those used in the local agriculture, gives the landscape a humanised feel.
In opposition to the wall, a geometrically precise swimming pool sunk into a concrete solarium platform that fills the most expressive concavity not only relates to the sea, but actually accentuates it by countering and contrasting the jagged irregularity of the rocky massif. The entire project is an attempt to conjugate the various horizontal and vertical fluxes that complement the site, making it stand out and rendering it more accessible and inviting, structuring open and public space into an existing and at the same time new landscapes.


THE PLACE

The Salt Marsh - a construction, the ancient Lime-Kiln.
Configuration - Result of volcanic, black and porous stratification, due to the fast process of lava – a rare balance between Form and Place.
Occupation of the Place – An old artisan industry related to fishing industry, dry of “cat-fish”, and extraction of the salt from the rocks gave the name to the place – Salinas.

THE PROJECT

A long wall – develops and articulates the peripheral limit of the Salt marsh and gives continuity to a circuit of paths "Caminho da Trincheira” bordering the sea.

A thick wall supports the cliff and shelters the content.
A topographical wall sweetens and limits the surroundings.
A wall in stone contextualizes the place.

A platform in concrete, with precise geometry relates with the sea – opposing and confronting the irregularity of the coast evidencing it.

The high quota, the building of the restaurant of intrinsic geometry related to the place, punctuates the horizontality of the thick walls. Creating a view with a panoramic embrasure, that allows a portion of sea within the big room, establishing an intense relation between inside and outside, strengthening the views of the Atlantic.



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