Floating between the Tagus River and São Jorge Castel
The cruise terminal designed by Carrilho da Graça Arquitectos almost seems to float in the river, despite its actual position as a crisp, geometric shape on the banks of the Tagus river. The interweaving of structural lines inevitably draws the viewer’s eye upwards at first, but it might then be drawn across the building towards, on the one side, the great river that runs across the capital or, on the other, the slopes of the surrounding hills and the Alfama district that rises under the imposing São Jorge Castle. The lightness is deliberately created by rhythmic dialogue between solids and voids, lightness and darkness, to forge a complex that blends into rather than alters the landscape regardless of the point in the city from which the viewer looks at the terminal. A walkway around the building actually leads up to the roof, turning it into a sort of asymmetrical piazza or open-air stage inspired by the waves washing by below.
The site was once home to decrepit old dock buildings and warehouses, so the new addition is very much part of the regeneration of the area and a functional access point for people arriving via the sea. The internal and external walls are central to the entire design, explaining the decision to bring Diasen on board. The company specializes in architecture that is sustainable, but also delivers demanding standards of well-being and comfort, and for this project it chose three different types of thermal, acoustic and dehumidifying plasters from its Diathonite line. Although each plaster has unique features, they all meet demanding standards for thermal and living comfort, and energy savings in both homes and large-scale constructions.
Ensuring the ground floor is neither too hot in summer nor too cold in winter was critical, so Diathonite Evolution was selected for the basement garage walls and ceiling, as this light plaster includes a combination of cork, lime and diatomaceous earth. The external walls on the ground floor were made with the macro-porous, dehumidifying, anti-saline and breathable Diathonite Deumix+ plaster, especially because this product is highly effective against rising damp as moisture is absorbed and then released to the outside, avoiding both esthetic and structural problems.
Finally, for the interior walls in the areas that will see the most passengers passing through - such as the duty free zone and the boarding areas - Diathonite Acoustix+ was used as it can absorb up to 70% of sound waves despite not being particularly thick, which is essential in it being applied on walls, ceilings and even curved surfaces. The project won various international prizes both for the architecture and as a European port structure for cruise ships.