“…over two thousand years ago, in a small cove under the Castle’s prominent hill, cosmopolitan groups of sailors and native merchants from mediterranean and north-african coasts disembarked, to exchange their transformed products for much more primitive matters, but equally important. The way in to the narrow Tagus’ mouth was achieved after a few days of traveling and stopping that, during the cabotage by the south and southwest iberian coast, succeed to each other on several trading posts. The arrival should be impressive for its amenity, for the succession of prominent hills, and for the extension that is encountered, after the passage through the narrow estuarine mouth, when the “inward” sea, called “Mar da Palha”, is reached. Today, the way into the Tagus’ harbor entrance is an experience hard to forget, when in the morning the large cruise ships travel by the coast through the Bugio’s lighthouse and suddenly disclose the Lisbon’s city landscape, awaken beneath the bland and misty light, unveiled by the haze illuminated by the East. The slow maneuver of reversing and docking, allows the gradual observation of the city, embedded in its hilly relief, and of the Alfama’s quarter, its churches and the Castle. The immediate sight of the cranes and the disembarkation footbridges is mediated by the extensive promenades of trees, that constitute the riparian park of the “Jardim do Tabaco” on the Alfama’s river side.”
The creation of the new Cruise Terminal in Lisbon offers a rare opportunity to question and rethink the urban and living relations between the city of Lisbon and the Tagus river, object of numerous proposals through the centuries, a consequence of the importance this relation has on the characterization and development of a city that assumes its natural harbor vocation.
The proposal of a volumetrically compact building allows the liberation of the surrounding space, returning it to public use, offering the city and the adjoining neighborhoods a referential green space, with capacity to house different activities. This green space assumes the character of a great riparian park, evoking the proposed boulevards, of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, by Carlos Mardel and Thomé de Gamond, among others.
The small scale of the building is an approach to the urban scale, while the free space ensures the required distance for contemplation of the Alfama’s slope, punctuated by the Mosteiro de São Vicente de Fora and the Panteão Nacional skylines, that is molded as an amphitheater around the harbor. Thus, the visual relation river /city takes on as much importance as the city / river one, being the park and building located on the transition, coexisting and being mutually potentiated.
The building emerges as a effective programmatic response to the ships, while the park responds to the city, mediating the historic center and the river, working simultaneously as a city gate. The proposed solution allows versatility, both in the indoor and the outdoor spaces, to house events like exhibitions, fashion or film series, concerts, fairs and markets, as an alternative to the seasonal occupation of the terminal.
One of the key points of the project is the preservation of the existing dock’s structure, praising its memory by keeping the void space and recovering the existing stone wall, around its perimeter.
The park is organized like an echo of the dock, defined by elements laid out parallel to its longitudinal limits, like the long rows of trees or the sidewalks. The transport accommodation is intended to be simple and flexible, by using extensive paved strips integrated in the park, refusing a road design in space definition.
Separating the park and the harbor, the Terminal building also defines the entrance square, at Southwest, and the car parking at Northeast, which occupies the former dock’s space. The square is intended to frame the river and the Alfândega building, clearly taking a representative role. At the intersection of the square with the existing dock, a water surface is created evoking its previous use.
The building advocates a simple and compact solution, with a rational use of resources and systems chosen, allied to a flexible use of space. It stands before the city and the park as a pavilion, a kind of transshipment raft, appearing to be a floating volume, broken, with tension areas and inflections that suggest the points of entrance and exit out of the building.
A route/promenade wraps the building, allowing a slow discovery of the surroundings, while wandering along the several facades. It culminates on the roof, that gains the features of a stage, relating to the river without any obstacles, like a raised square.
The entrance hall is situated along the main facade, characterized by the double ceiling height created by the circular void. Here are located the several services for the passengers and the luggage area.
On the upper floor, there is the waiting room and the check-in area, with a cafeteria, the lounge, a shopping area and all the necessary posts for controlling passengers and luggage. This space is directly connected with the public patio, resultant of the building fracture, that offers a sight view over Alfama.
The passengers’ arrival to the city is a moment strongly characterized by the panoramic view over the historic center, and by the horizontal plan of treetops that is unfolded at a lower level.
From this point of arrival, passengers can go down directly to the city, whether along the Northeast facade of the building, whether along the square’s facade, or to the baggage claim area.
At the dock’s level, there is a car parking divided in three areas; under the building itself, enjoying the covered area and a controlled access, are the parkings for the staff and for the turnaround passengers; on the exterior area, shadowed by the vegetal covering of the treetops, there is the public parking.
©Carrilho da Graça arquitectos
Ficha del Proyecto
Hydraulic and gas engineering:
Mechanical, thermal and acoustic engineering:
People and cargo transports:
Electrical, telecommunications, security systems and lighting plannig:
Environment and sustainability:
International competition – 1st Prize