PROMONTORIO - Fonte da Prata Community Centre, a social project with families and children
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Fonte da Prata Community Centre, a social project with families and children

PROMONTORIO

Education  /  Completed
PROMONTORIO

Santa Rafaela Maria is a charity foundation established in 1992 to oversee and develop social projects with families and children. With a focus on prevention of school drop-out, the foundation pretended a place to daily assist children and teenagers with learning impairments, mostly coming from destitute families and dysfunctional environments; in addition to assist social welfare on child protection and monitoring, economic funding to families in vulnerable situations and parental training, and emigrants’ integration.

The campus of the community centre is located near the south shore of the Tagus river in one of its many inlets and adjacent to the neglected social housing quarter of Fonte da Prata, a multicultural neighbourhood built in the early 1980s to mostly house migrants. With a plot area of roughly one hectare, besides the palace, the precinct comprises an area of disperse buildings in ruins, some of which may be renovated or rebuilt but, in compliance with regulatory constraints, using the same footprint. In support to the programme, the landscaping of the precinct will comprise the creation of car parking, a football/basketball pitch, a playground, an orchard and a vegetable garden, in addition to restoring the existing well, washer, tank and threshing floor.

The sustainable development was the premise that pushed the reconstruction of the warehouses into the economy and restauration of elements and building materials, in addition to the recycling and reuse of demolition waste. The rigor in the strict implementation of low construction costs imposed a rational proportion between the regulatory requirements vis-à-vis levels of comfort, performance and energy costs, as well as control of maintenance costs during the building's useful life. Plus, the use of passive construction systems with a design adjusted to the sun exposure and the application of industrial construction systems. The set of these practices resulted in good thermal behavior of the buildings, avoiding the installation of air conditioning systems.

In terms of programme, the masterplan comprises lecture rooms and workshop space, kitchen and canteen, the foundation’s main centre, chapel, lodging for volunteers and storage for summer camps apparel and equipment. Given the limited budget, the project is phased. The palace will hold the main family and social emergency functions, while the nearby ruin towards northeast will be renovated into the volunteers’ residential quarters. Phase 1 consisted in the renovation into lecture hall of the existing agricultural warehouses which are attached to the southwest façade of the palace. While partially using its foundations and part of its perimeter walls, the footprint and the double-gable roof of the existing building was largely maintained, with one volume used as a multifunctional space with lockers and toilets, and the other as five lecture rooms. In stark contrast with the palace, the lecture hall building is fully clad wall-to-roof in an insulated sandwich panel of aluminium and polyurethane, tinted with a graphite ash pigment. This particular choice of material was led by both budget and maintenance costs, as well as the prevention of vandalism and intrusion, which is also the reasons for the openings to incorporate a system of reinforced aluminium shutters.

This architectural project made possible this important social project with families and children. With a focus on prevention of school drop-out, we daily assist approximately 70 children and teenagers with learning impairments, mostly coming from destitute families and dysfunctional environments. Plus, we assist social welfare on child protection and monitoring, economic funding to families in vulnerable situations and parental training, in addition to emigrants’ integration.

Credits

 Alhos Vedros, Moita
 Portugal
 Fundação Santa Rafaela Maria
 Community Centre
 06/2022
 460 mq
  600,000.00 €
 PROMONTORIO
 Pedro Appleton, Bruno Cardoso, Axelle Vandenbroucke, Nelson Caracol
 PPRBuild, Engenharia e Construção Lda.keywtrokes
 Structures, Hydraulics: Betar Electricals, Mechanical: ProM&E
 Fernando Guerra FG+SG

Curriculum

A five-partner firm, PROMONTORIO is a full-service architecture, planning, landscaping, interior design and graphics team that began in Lisbon in 1990 as an experimental studio. It consistently grew into a practice of sixty architects, planners, landscape architects, interior designers and graphic designers. Underlying its approach to the urban form, the work of PROMONTORIO has often been identified with the pursuit of a ‘system of robustness’ (i.e. solidity, stability and durability) both in terms of representational meaning and technical research. This has been implemented and tested in vast construction sites and under challenging time and budget constraints.
Our process springs from a dynamic and focused design culture that fosters collaboration above all. Ranging from schools, museums and cultural institutions, to housing, offices and hotels, this cohesive and interactive structure enables us to deal with large and complex projects both in terms of design and programme,

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