s. joão de deus (phase 1)
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The São João de Deus neighbourhood, originally designed and built in the 1940s, is a typical work of the so-called Soft Portuguese style, which the Estado Novo regime adopted as a stylistic dogma for national public works of the time. From an urban perspective, the project is characterised by a layout that follows the design parameters of the Garden City in Britain in the 20th century. It comprises small-scale buildings, laid out in a rational, fragmented fashion across the land, following the nature of the terrain and exposure to sunlight, within a concentric plan. Geometrically designed from the existing headland, it widens out to the boundary of the plateau above the railway line to the east and the pronounced difference in level over the Campanhã Valley. The existing nature of the geography and its masterly layout confer on it, from amass and landscape point of view, a very particular scale and relationship with the terrain. Over time, most especially over the last 3 decades, the neighbourhood underwent changes that undermined its genesis, modified its main urban and typological qualities and massified the construction in an anarchic manner with no apparent housing or social advantages. In urban terms, the project proposes to restore the neighbourhood to its original design qualities, specifically the quite balanced relationship between the mass scale, the public and natural spaces, and the landscape and topographic background of the 1940s intervention. The transformation of the existing buildings restores its original mass, conferring on it a contemporary appearance that is not arbitrary, but rather results from the constructive choice to transform its space and form. The original housing typologies were reshaped so as to achieve homes with a much larger living space than they currently have, and more quality and flexibility. The construction of the newbuildings completes the siting of the unfinished group to the south, respecting the scale of the former architectural and urban setting. The scale, language and positioning on the land of the new buildings are based on the compositional and typological assumptions of the original project.
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s. joão de deus social housing
porto, portugal
building area:
1188 m2
nuno brandão costa
rita leite (coordenação)
charlotte jeanjean, francisco pereira, inês loureiro, joão fânzeres, maria souto moura, mariana santos

structural engineer:
ana isabel vale (abprojectos)
hydraulic engineer:
miguel vale (abprojectos)
electrical engineer:
maria da luz santiago (rs associados)
mechanical engineer:
raul bessa (get)
andré cepeda