The Urban Plan for Foz do Arade was the winning proposal for a waterfront area at the edge of the Arade Estuary, bridging the gap left between the 1940’s industrial areas of the city of Portimão, and the neighboring seaside resort of Praia da Rocha, in the Algarve, Portugal.
Second Award Urban Design & Architecture Design Awards 2019
Firm | Campos Costa Arquitetos & Oitoo
Category | Urban Design (Concept)
Team | Pedro Campos Costa, Nuno Baptista Rodrigues
Country | Portugal
The urban development of the later XX the century was enhanced by a change that saw tourism overtake fishing and canning industry as the main driver of the regional economy. This resulted in the blending of two former centralities, namely Praia da Rocha, and Portimão, to the point that these are now understood as a single entity.
The plan concerns an embankment area located between these two urban hubs and aims to structure and formalize this articulation between the city center and the seaside, completing a vast, expectant area.
It realizes the potential of connecting a major public space with the riverfront in the only moment where such contact is possible.
The Urban Park
The Park is the ecological link merging the existing urban fabric with the new development on the embankment area. It will regulate the hydrological constraints on the site, namely tidal flow and upwind rainwater, through the establishing of retention ponds and creeks, complementing the leisure and landscaping areas in a meaningful new Urban Equipment.
The design strongly suggests the Park’s future continuation to the neighboring plot. We propose the organizing principle of establishing a public axis that, starting at the marina’s edge with a generous plaza, moves inward through a regionally significant urban park.
The park binds the buildable plots with a qualified urban space and infrastructure, connecting with the River promenade toward the historical center and completing the public space circuit between seaside and downtown. With maintenance, water consumption and site specificity in mind, all flora is of mediterranean origin.
Urban Model, Program and Flexibility
The proposal introduces some innovative uses, such as senior living, temporary residences, cohousing and young couple residences to the strict city-council regulated brief allowing for 120’000 sqm of generic mixed-use residential / touristic and commercial program.
The proposed building footprints and plots allow for substantial flexibility as they’re devised as self-standing buildings of variable sizes, allowing for different types of developers.
Typologically, the self-contained, compact and fragmented volumes promote permeability between private and public realms, blending with the park and refusing a sense of “front” and “back” façades.
The plan proposes to humanize the present over-scaled and car-centric road infrastructure surrounding the plot, enabling soft-mode mobility and connection with the preexisting areas. New infrastructure is sensibly added to the previous and reduced to the essential. It brings continuity where it is needed, reducing “drive through” traffic and avoiding interference with the urban park as much as possible.
The Plaza and the Boulevard
Facing the river, the plaza is the new hub and public centrality, with hospitality and commercial uses in its sphere of influence. A new boulevard crosses the site, continuing the plaza. The built area around these urban nodes, and the public space circuit will, hopefully, generate critical mass, footfall and synergy to activate not only the site, but also the urban areas in the vicinity.