Dolce Vita Porto… a 1.6 million square foot mixed-use development is truly a breakthrough design for a commercial development… an avant-garde design that rises above commercial mediocrity and achieves a much wider definition of success.
Urban Design & Architecture Design Awards 2018
Honorable Mention | Category: Commercial
Architects: Michael Mindlin
Studio Name: MINDLIN Consulting
Team Members: Michael Mindlin, David Suttle
Country: United States
Dolce Vita Porto Porto, Portugal
Designed by Michael Mindlin of Suttle Mindlin, now MINDLIN consulting
1,700,000 total square feet
407,069 square feet of retail
167 room four star hotel
100,000 square feet of Hypermarket
Project Description: The city of Porto in Portugal is home to the FC Porto Dragons, one of Europe’s leading soccer teams. Their stadium is immense and creates a wall of concrete many stories high. Adjacent, literally built into the side of a hill, is Dolce Vita Porto. The stadium’s tall concrete walls created an overwhelming presence against which
Dolce Vita Porto could not easily compete for on the street. Left without scale, generous budget, or wiggle room on the site, Michael Mindlin needed a unique answer. And furthermore, three times a month the facility would be swamped with 60,000 hard-core soccer fans… potential customers for the restaurants and entertainment venues… but visitors that could not be allowed to overwhelm the more traditional shopping environments within.
Transparency… Translucency… and Opacity
Michael Mindlin, a Principal at Suttle Mindlin and the Project Executive, arrived at a unique concept that was a study in transparency, translucency, and opacity… with a physical quality to the light that is brought into the spaces through a wide range of glazing systems and meant to be a modern “gothic cathedral” for social interaction. To this, he added an unprecedented level of computer-controlled lighting systems.
Bolted Cantilevered Elliptical Glass Walkways
The shopping centre is an elliptical, vertical atrium space that rises from below the ground to break through the roof of the facility. The true “shopper” coming from the stadium is given direct access to the retailing… but must walk up a gentle series of steps. The sports “fan” still in a “sporting frame of mind” is given the path of least resistance and walks down the hillside… captured by the grand urban stair hall. Each of the elliptical walkways that project into the atrium space is a bolted, cantilever, steel and glass structure.
Folded Butterfly Perforated Metal Ceiling
At the top of this elliptical space is a “folded butterfly” ceiling of perforated metal panels that provides a “gossamer” effect allowing some views beyond to the trusses supporting the ceiling. It changes effects… almost disappearing when viewed against the exterior vertical glass walls… and providing just enough form to finish the ceiling of the space. Across the void is the cinema, which has been designed as a series of large, jagged, translucent walls that protrude into the void and are entirely back lighted…, giving the cinema a presence that is understandable from any point in the atrium. Controlled, again, by lighting software, these jagged walls change constantly and provide for a wide variety of “moods”.