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URBAN PARK - ENVIRONMENTAL INTERPRETATION CENTER

Oliveira de Azeméis, 2020 

In Oliveira de Azeméis, an Urban Park / Environmental Interpretation Center is being born, strategic equipment for the development of the city. The project, with an area of five hectares, will be located in a central area of the city, in the so-called “old” Quinta dos Borges.

This project will provide the city with a central space for public use, with the characteristics of an urban park structured in contemporary molds, where, by implementing the best design and project best practices, it will offer a place that promotes the most sustainable and stimulating models of use. The intervention in its proposal, imagines the park as a pole of intervention and promotion of environmental resilience in the city of Oliveira de Azeméis, with the aim of improving the health and general well-being of Oliveirenses and visitors, as well as obtaining environmental and economical benefits, trying to preserve the ecosystem already established by the existing vegetation, introducing new specimens that help to consolidate and strengthen the ecological potential of the park. The city will thus have strategic equipment for its development, a high quality recreational and leisure space, designed for the welfare and community.

The proposal foresees the requalification of the existing building in the “old” Quinta dos Borges for restaurant spaces, such as the park's café / café concert terrace, and the provision of areas for the Interpretative Center and Pedagogical Farm, slide and tree-climbing structures, circuits and sports equipment, rest areas, among many other features. We are in the presence of a pre-existence strongly conditioning the intervention. The evidence of heritage values of the most diverse nature and typology gives the location support of the intervention, a manifest characteristic of identity and potential, which must be valued and interpreted. The proposal thus guides all of its action - from conception to detail of the drawing -, taking as its motto the sensitive reading of pre-existence, as a “genius loci”. Several themes are identified as guiding the intervention: the humanized landscape and the environmental and natural heritage.

Intervention strategies will be adopted, whether in pre-existing structures or in new constructions to be implemented, which ensure the most adequate compatibility of the proposed valence with the built (pre-existing) “container” that will accommodate it. All spaces in this project result in spaces committed to the necessary versatility of the uses (and audiences) pointed out and considers a value of versatility that goes beyond the immediate proposal. There was, however, the self-imposed discipline and conditioning of seeking, due to the suitability of use and the planned physical rehabilitation actions, the most careful and cautious way of preserving the architectural and “urbanistic” heritage in presence, even if not classified ("Classification procedure" which, for our purposes, is irrelevant).

The adoption of methodologies to safeguard heritage and architectural integration is necessarily combined with innovative processes and the search for the best solutions for energy efficiency and environmental neutrality. In the intervention on the park space, these principles of environmental sustainability assume special emphasis, considering tha the intervention will be made directly in complex ecosystems, which articulate protected flora and fragile hydraulic systems. Thus, the commitment is evident: to articulate the public, varied and inclusive use and enjoyment of the various equipment and facilities proposed, adopting strategies for the conservation and enhancement of the natural heritage and minimizing the negative impacts that human activity may have on the environment. We believe that careful and environmentally conscious management of the natural assets of this park will translate into even less financial effort associated with maintenance costs in the face of more inadequate intervention models and possibly heirs of “preconceptions”, not resulting from understanding the realities of our intervention site.