Rehabilitation of the Civic Center of Vila Nova de Paiva


centro cívico de Vila Nova de Paiva

The civic center of Vila Nova de Paiva allows today a more qualified level of accessibility and enjoyment. Recently, it was the target of an intervention of qualification and rehabilitation of the system of public spaces adjacente to Avenida Aquilino Ribeiro on the west side, under the Urban Regeneration Action Plan Vila Nova de Paiva, in a total area of 15.123 m2, carried out by the architectural firm ad quadratum arquitectos, allowing today a better offer at the level of infrastructures and services of the city.

The square D. Afonso Henriques, the spaces adjacent to Avenida Aquilino Ribeiro, the Largo do Ramalhal / Campo da Restauração and the former grounds of the Casa das Caldeirinhas were the spaces subject of intervention.

The solution advocated here, far beyond the response to infrastructural and servisse issues ( sanitation, stormwater, public lighting, eletrical supply and signal and telecommunications networks), supported the commitments necessary for the coexistence of the dominant uses (orderly parking and fortninghtly fair) with the qualification of the space dedicated to the leisure of the population (places and equipment for accommodation and informal outdoor activities) and the hosting of evento f municipal relevance, including thematic fair, exhibitions of activities, informal sports events or outdoor shows, essential for the comfort and quality of life the community.

«A project that had, in firts instance, the population’s well-being in mind, so that they could find in the civic center the best conditions», says the project manager, José António Lopes, from the architecture office ad quadratum arquitectos.

centro cívico de Vila Nova de Paiva



The qualification of the city’s public spaces, considering its promotion as a qualified urban and dynamics, in the social and economic valences, namely by the qualified reception and in legal observance, of the very old fortnightly fair (Feira de Barrelas) that takes place here, was the main goal of this intervention front that, moreover, was based on a set of problems to be solved and purposes to achieve, namely:

  • The need to qualify the spatial and urban design solutions, conferrong a geometric clarity that would dignify their enjoyment, in their disparate valences;
  • The road and functional reordering, rethinking the urban functions, their socio-cultural and economic value, their performance and their symbolic and identity importance;
  • The reconditioning of the public space, considering the reconfiguration of the design of its constituents, from the structural elements to the green spaces, from the places of rest to those of civic and symbolic importance, from the sidewalks to the geometry of the junctions, from the regulation and discipline of parking to the adequate infrastructure for the multipurpose use of the spaces;
  • The correction of settlements, degradation and heterogeneity of sidewalk forming and finishing materials (those intended for road and pedestrian traffic, as well as others associated with accessibility for all and the promotion of soft modes of transport);
  • The intervention in infrastructures networks, not only correscting known anomalies but also adapting them to new valences;
  • The elimination and reconditioning of dissonante elements of the urban landscape;
  • The need for rationalization, endowment, and qualification of urban furniture soluctions that promote usability and qualified enjoyment of space, introducing more Comfort, legibility, and intelligibility.

«The intervention implemented in Vila Nova de Paiva also had the condition of implementing a solution that would guarantee the continuity of its premises in a second phase of the intervention, harmonizing all the action in the objective of the Civic Center qualification”, guarantees the architect, José António Lopes, from the architecture office ad quadratum arquitectos.

It should be noted that the amendment to the Legal Regime of Urban Rehabilitation (RJRU) produced by Law No. 32/2012 enabled municipalities to initiate urban rehabilitation processes in Urban Rehabilitation Areas (ARU) in a phased manner: first, the approval of the delimitation of the ARU and, subsequently, the approval of the Urban Rehabilitation Operation (ORU) to be developed in these areas.

centro cívico de Vila Nova de Paiva centro cívico de Vila Nova de Paiva


Considering the centrality and prominence of the intervention site – the Campo da Restauração and Praça D. Afonso Henriques, its iconographic and symbolic value, it was imposed on the project the adoption of an intervention structure, strong and characteristic identity, based on an ordering geometry and with great capacity to accommodate the architectural and topographical conditions, as well as polyvalence of urban functions that it aimed to host.

«Attentive to the national and European scale dynamics, we chose the specificity of the territories, in the identification of principles that are considered fundamental to help our municipalities become more resilient and adaptable to challenges and better seize opportunities. That’s what we did in Vila Nova de Paiva, providing its civic center with valences of great value, so that inhabitants and visitors could enjoy the quality of this space says architect and urban planner, José António Lopes.

Thus, the main organizing axes organized spatially, functionally and symbolically the main built groups of the site, orienting all the public space, from the main building of the City Hall and adjacent to the Casa das Caldeirinhas, with the “acropolis” where the Mother Church is implanted. Between these two extremes, the topography naturally promoted the structuring of an “amphitheater” that made the rehabilitation of the existing platforms feasible.

It should also be noted that the intervention planned at that time for Avenida Aquilino Ribeiro, complementarily ensured the condition of a more qualified level of accessibility and emphasized the whole logic of this intervention.