10.8.2022

Almada Housing – PLOT D – 1º Prize

ocated on the south bank of the Tagus River, Almada is a city with a privileged geographical position, taking into account the relationship it establishes with the territory and the surrounding water resources.

DOMINGO/SUNDAY

Every Sunday is a day of rest.
Community results from the space that buildings give us.
In his rule we find our refuge and our moments.

ALMADA

Located on the south bank of the Tagus River, Almada is a city with a privileged geographical position, taking into account the relationship it establishes with the territory and the surrounding water resources. Bordered by river and sea, it functions as a hinge area between the Tagus River/river mouth (to the north) and the Atlantic Ocean (to the west). Its rugged morphology elevates it to an extensive viewpoint over the city of Lisbon. Between the 1940s and 1970s, associated with the naval, weaving or milling industries, there is an increase in population and a large migratory flow due to the search for better employment and housing conditions, having become one of the most populous municipalities in Portugal, with about 118,000 inhabitants. The proximity to the city of Lisbon and the construction of the bridge over the Tagus in 1966 – which facilitated mobility between shores – was another relevant factor for the growth of Almada as a ‘dormitory town’ that offers other living conditions that compete with the capital. Currently, in the field of housing, the municipality of Almada presents a range of strategies that aim to enhance the rehabilitation of municipal housing, the supply of affordable rental housing and other urbanistic measures of sustainability in the access to housing.

CONTEXT

The intervention area is located in Vale do Linhoso, in Sobreda, at Rua Fernando Bento, in the finishing line of three future lots, in a residential area. In the urban morphology of Almada it is evident that the growth in the peripheries is directly related to population migration and the consequent construction of housing and commercial complexes. In order to mitigate/dilute the discrepancy between the peripheries and the city center, the proposal should ensure the creation of alternative programs and spaces that encompass local communities without segregating them from each other.

The affordable rent program allows for the support of low-income social groups, improving housing standards in the city. Thus, the redesign requested in connection with this competition should not be reduced to simply adding a built volume in the intended area, but should contribute as a gesture that will contaminate the whole context, who occupies it in the present and who will integrate it in the future.

INTEGRATION AND CONSTRAINS

Located in a corner, between buildings, a park and a square, the main goal of the project was to clear the first floor so that there would be no barriers from an urban point of view, making the volumes under the building become part of the everyday life of all who pass by.

As the building is at the convergence of two slopes, it is important that it is formally available to react and make its surroundings react, moving in all its layers, joining all the pieces of the first floor, breaking on the upper floors.

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MY NEIGHBOURHOOD, MY HOME

The purpose of a building is to regulate nature, to create shelter, where we protect ourselves from the weather. It is the space where we seek to replenish what is frantically taken from us throughout the day. The home, as a concept, is formed through a watertight grid that allows the flow of human action, the unforeseen of life. It materializes without limiting.

In the rigidity and pragmatism of design finds a place for the dynamics of the individual. The housing modules are a reflection of this. They obey a set of assumptions, of rules for living, which are adapted to their position in the building. This organization, adaptable to people and the environment, is also evident in the rule that is verified in the façade, which dynamically seeks the same use in different morphologies. From a modular set of spans, successive framings, in this repetitive variation, the routine remains fresh.

The building twists and turns, lining the hill, and mimics the movement of its curves, denying a static condition. If inside the house we have our personal refuge, it is in the square that we seek to dynamize not only the experience of the building’s residents, but to promote a redesign of the surroundings by connecting the square to a new green park, through an unblocked first floor under the building, which opens to direct the flow of users.

MODULE/VARIATION

Having a rule assumes that eventually an exception, a variation, will occur. The proposal sees in the vectorial understanding of the building’s movement the chance to create this variation.

Using prefabricated concrete panels covered with tiles, the façade module is successively mirrored, reflecting light differently along its outline, giving it an ever-changing vibration. The balconies, also pre-made pieces, move in and out of the façade, changing the residents’ behavior, differentiating each of the apartments.

This dichotomy, the way the two materials, concrete and tile, reflect, and the changing color of the embasement, give the building the ability to sweeten itself and merge into the residents’ activities. Not settleling into monotony, the building demanded movement.

The apartments contradict this desire for movement, and there is a rigidity of design, regulated by the relationship of emptiness, which leaves room for occupation, and where the rooms are not only delimited in the private but also mediate the collective experience.

LANDSCAPE DESIGN

The proposal presented is based on a strategy inherent to the concept presented for intervention, seeking to fully respond to the program, needs and specificities of this type of public space and green spaces for collective use coherent and articulated with the entire surroundings. The proposed design for the organic outdoor spaces intends to immerse the user in a multi-sensorial experience, for which, in conceptual terms, different ‘layers’ were used – topography, water, light, vegetation and visual relationship with the surroundings. From the social point of view, recent research sustains that the most appreciated and favorable spaces for the formation of social ties are those with more green spaces, and, therefore, fundamental in promoting the sense of community and the creation of intergenerational relationships, which invite people to stay, with the use of benches and shade, which also allow for socializing and contemplation of the landscape. The square adjacent to the new building was designed as a proximity garden with strong social values, and for this the spaces were designed with the objective of creating opportunities for free recreation in the outdoor space, with the introduction of furniture, natural elements such as stones, logs, and equipment.

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The vegetation and its patches define an organic design, which will relate to the new building. The trees positioned to create shade, to soften temperatures, to filter particles, will promote the framing of the existing urban mesh and give a more coherent reading between the proposed and the existing. In terms of drainage, the project adopts solutions framed in urban systems of sustainable drainage, which can fully integrate an image of naturalized outdoor space. It is also intended that the garden extends to the expectant area adjacent to the intervention area, transforming it into a park with several social and environmental valences

ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY

THE STRUCTURAL SOLUTION:

Durability is the main factor of sustainability. The quality, the scrupulous respect of the most recent recommendations of the Eurocodes regarding the constructive dispositions and crack control are the best guarantee of the extension of the useful life and the reduction of unnecessary consumption over time in maintenance, thus reducing the associated carbon footprint. The use, when possible, of prefabrication, the use of recycled materials such as ordinary recycled steel reinforcement or recycled aggregates in the production of concrete are key factors that contribute significantly to the reduction of carbon consumption.

THE FACADES:

The facades are planned to be prefabricated in reinforced concrete thus ensuring uniformity of appearance. The entire exterior perimeter will be provided with a mesh (vertical and horizontal) of precast concrete bollards ensuring compatibility of deformations between floors. In a second plan, the façade panels are also expected to be prefabricated in concrete using a mixture of recycled lightweight aggregates and cork in order to reduce weight, reduce cement consumption and improve the ecological footprint, considerably improving the thermal insulation conferred.

ENGINEERING PROJECT

With the entry into force of the REH (Regulation of Energy Performance of Residential Buildings, DL 101-D/2020, of December 7) and with the start of operation of the SCE (National System of Energy Certification and Indoor Air Quality in Buildings, DL 78/2006), it is intended to impose rules of efficiency on HVAC systems to improve their effective energy performance and ensure the means to maintain good indoor air quality, both at the project level, at the installation level, and during operation, through proper maintenance. The proposed HVAC project seeks to favor centralized systems as a way to take advantage of economies of scale, and more energyefficient solutions, including those using renewable energy-based systems, whenever economically feasible. The building will be certified by the National System for Energy and Indoor Air Quality Certification of Buildings (SCE), intending to obtain an energy rating of good quality, so that all efforts will be made to optimize the operation of systems and minimize any energy losses, both at the project level and through careful implementation of the installation and assembly of its equipment.

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ADOPTED BIO-CLIMATIC SOLUTIONS

The thermal inertia of the buildings in question are characterized by a heavy thermal inertia. The attenuation of heat gains depends on the thermal mass of the building, i.e. the ability of the building’s envelope to store thermal energy, “heat”, which leads to a decrease in peak values of cooling loads and a mismatch between outside and inside temperatures. A building with a strong thermal inertia allows that in the summer season the heat peaks, coming from the outside envelope, can be out of phase with the peak occupancy of the building, being retained in the envelope itself and only released into the building at the end of the day. In this way a high thermal inertia, combined with a natural night ventilation, allows the removal of all the load on the building during the night. The air circulation contributes to the decrease of the indoor temperature and also to the removal of the sensible heat stored in the thermal mass, The openings should be placed in the south quadrant and in opposite locations to allow cross ventilation in order to reconcile the heating and cooling strategies. This type of solution allows for a high reduction in energy consumption for cooling, since it prevents most of the solar gains from immediately increasing the temperature of the interior spaces, thus reducing air conditioning consumption.

SOLAR PROTECTION/GLAZED AREAS

The proposed building will also be equipped with an external solar protection system, in the glazed areas, with an external shading screen, in order to reduce direct radiation into the interior of the building, thus avoiding an excessive increase of energy for cooling. The combination of the glazed spans with external solar protection still allows a good natural lighting of the interior spaces, drastically reducing the electricity consumption with lighting, and on the other hand avoiding unnecessary solar and internal gains in the cooling season. The strategically located glazed windows allow for good capture of solar gains in the heating season, resulting in a very interesting passive heating of the building.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

For the heating of the hot water, solar thermal panels associated with monoblock-type heat pumps will be provided. One system of this type will be installed per building unit. As a complement to the renewable energy system, it will also be proposed the installation of photovoltaic solar panels for the production of electrici0ty to improve the energy rating and reduce electricity consumption.

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