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architect | urban planner | designer

Lisbon | Portugal PORTFOLIO

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The Touch of the Obô in the

A recreational and community space in Santo

António of Príncipe
The Concept
Travelling on an island where the colonial Architecture builds the spaces together with the vernacular Architecture, where the
green structure surrounds the constructed spaces, we come across the example of one of the smallest cities, located in the island
of Príncipe, in São Tomé and Príncipe. Situated in a valley and surrounded by a totally natural background, an endemic landscape
and a bay that presents it to the rest of the world, the city of Santo Antonio rises as the scenario of the of this Master’s degree
Final Project.
The need to restructure this city arises from the lack of infrastructures and qualified spaces, with a growing objective in improving
the living conditions of its population. A population that lives from the outer space and its intersection with the living space, with a
clear sense of community, where the way of living and the day-by-day is translated into the space of the street.
The visit to the city clarified these experiences and the urgency to create an architectural space that, complemented by a new
urban plan that promoted the connections inside and outside the city and the public spaces qualified, could gather the sense of
community with the recreational one. In the central area of the city, where the population clusters are easily verified, a new cen-
trality emerges through the existing market zone, complemented by a new commercial space and a building that aims to promote
new recreational and performative activities.
A space linked to the identity of the city, completing it with social and sustainability premises, where people are the main actors
of the Architecture stage.

Photographs from the author that represent the

environments in Santo António.

Relation between the sight plan and the aerial

image of Santo António, focusing in the main
areas of the city.

Aerial imagens of the city as it is.

The project in the city of Santo António on the island of Príncipe tries to achieve a personal and communal relationship with the
space by the local population, through the implementation of an equipment and a housing system (housing neighbourhood unit)
that can provide these same relationships.
With the idea of a harmonious urban growth, the design of a new space will start from structuring units and the addition of new
urban elements in order to establish and clarify urban scales and dimensions.
The city of Santo António lacks several elements that, besides structuring the city, provide better living conditions for its population.
From the observed daily movements it was possible to understand such deficiencies of edification and public space, where certain
activities are performed in spaces devoid of conditions. It is through this necessity that the equipment appears as a proposal that
suppresses these spatial and building needs, encompassing a more communitarian and a more recreational aspect.
The housing conditions of the population present several organizational flaws and basic requirements, and it is necessary to
propose housing typologies that promote the improvement of these same conditions.
As such, the project focuses on three interventional scales: urban, equipment and housing. In this way it is possible to propose
harmoniously those three dimensions intertwined with a general concept of sustainability and community, where the improvement
of living conditions becomes the main focus.
In a city it is important to observe the movements and actions by the population and what is their impact around, making the social
architecture a relevant subject for understanding how to intervene in the city of Santo António. The act of thinking and projecting
spaces arises from the need to occupy these same spaces by human action, through systems generated by an urban context, in
a clear relationship between its current structure and its historical structure.
In this thematic context it is important that there is a strong awareness of the architect’s responsibility about the social dimension
in a space where the city can never be reduced to a management of flows and networks or stripped of its multiple human content.
In a space such as Santo António it is imperative that territorial occupation always takes into account the population for which it is
intended, either in the design of an urban plan or an architectural object, through the articulation of economic and cultural factors.
The diversity of cities lies in their heterogeneity, represented by the use of spaces by their population. These movements “draw”
the cities, completing them individually and collectively.
The Urban
The new urban plan must provide access to qualified public spaces and quality services to support the population through a mo-
bility network with an active, more walkable and compact city principle.
In a humid tropical climate it is necessary that the urban plan includes situations of forested areas, commercial areas with sun
and rain protection, houses surrounded by space that provides ventilation, wide streets with trees for shade and inland paths on
the connecting blocks under the trees.
Based on these principles, the city will be defined by Avenida da Liberdade and by its flexion in the market zone, creating a new
urban space, and valuing the current commercial area, with the creation of a new area for this purpose, supported by a system
of streets. Starting from this main urban area, the street system will follow the current one, in which the use of the city’s axes will
define the new urban plan, forming a new reticular system that will provide greater ease in the movements of the city. Thus, rep-
etition arises as a continuity supported by the varying intensity of an idea or sensation, which according to the philosopher Gilles
Deleuze may reflect the use of this type of urban layout.
Given the small size of the city, the displacement of the population to the centers of service and commerce is not the biggest
problem, but the lack of services and commerce. The situation begins to be solved through the equipment planned in a deeper
way and through the planning of certain equipment in key areas of the new urban plan, with the aim of providing new actions by
the population.
The land should be valued for its natural beauty and not for its square meters, so the layout of lots where the dwellings are located
should be less rigid and more pleasant. Due to the climate of the city, the houses require an outside garden space around the
house with irregular dimensions in order to have more opportunities for the population, as in the use of exterior spaces.


7 8


Avenida da Liberdade

1 Nautical Center
2 High School
3 Technical School
4 Biodiversity Observation Center
5 Services
Main Streets 6 Residencial Complex for Students
Secondary Streets 7 Market
8 Recreational and Community Equipment
Pedestrian Streets 9 Health Center Proposal for the urban plan
The Equipment
The equipment to be designed aims to complement a social and urban integration programme, in an area of the city of Santo
António chosen for further development, which will create a parallelism and support with the new market area, next to the bending
of Avenida da Liberdade. This zone of the city marks a new urban center of the city, implemented in an axis of connection between
the several areas of the city, creating a new unification.
This architectural object creates a connection between a market zone and a community and recreational support equipment and
will be inserted in a proposal of public space in order to promote several activities of population support.
Sustained by the existing market building, the new expansion was necessary to accommodate a new area of commerce, with
sales outlets interconnected with a new type of pavement, but mainly with a wooden structure that relates this new area, the two
equipment such as a new restaurant, a small cafe and toilets. This space aims to promote a new external relation of the trade,
because through the superior structure and the existing green layer, it tries to solve the problem of current shading, which provides
new public spaces and an enjoyable relation with the outside.
The wood structure that connects all of the architectural elements, in addition to provide a new shading system in the commercial
zone and the connection with the other equipment, also creates a new system of water utilization. By placing several pillars that
collect the rainwater and filter it through a natural water filtration system, it is possible to use the same water to support the new
market outlets, as well as to the new sanitary installations.
The equipment will consist of five individual activity blocks, interconnected by the higher platform and the coverage.
The main focus of the project’s design becomes the equipment where new community spaces will be implemented to support the
entire population, such as recreational and learning spaces, through the vernacular architectural way of construction and based
The market proposal on a sustainable concept.

The equipment proposal Proposal for the local area

Main Plan
North Elevation

East Elevation

West Elevation

South Elevation

Housing Proposal
Due to the climatic conditions of the place, the concern to build a type of housing that could provide better comfort in it, with raised
balconies and two-sided roofs, in order to allow the ventilation and the continuous cooling, the cooling of the interior spaces and
the protection of buildings in the conditions of a tropical climate. It is also possible to denote these concerns in the facade of the
edified, through the existence of glass in formal housing, whereas in informal housing, it was implemented a system in order to
allow a certain privacy and the interior protection of the housing of climatic or animal factors through a type of mesh or wood.
Despite these characteristics, it is necessary to create low cost and fast execution solutions, in which buildings were erected in
wood, taking advantage of the natural/vegetable resources from the island.
In this way, housing is developed according to a raised platform, with the possibility of expansion. This proposal consists in the
possibility increase of the family nucleus of each inhabitant, allowing to add divisions to the house according to the size of the fam-
ily, or the use that they want for the spaces (trade space, rental space, etc.). It is then proposed a housing typology with a pantry
and meal space and a sanitary installation above a wooden platform and a canopy that allows the flow of rainwater. This typology
allows a clear relationship with the exterior that reflects the relationship already existing by the population of Santo António, but
improving the conditions and homogenizing the city, integrating the new urban plan, helping to design the housing blocks and the
inhabitants experiences.

Construction Section of the Housing

Construction Method
Green Architecture and Sustainable Architecture are considered forms to design with Nature, in an environmentally and ecolog-
ically responsibility. Despite this common notion, it is quite subjective what is considered to be a responsible project, due to the
growing concern for the deterioration of Earth’s natural resources. After all, its truth or falsehood can only be proved in the future.
Being a more vulnerable country with different characteristics from the rest of countries where sustainability is addressed, it is
important to focus in two premises: energy sustainability and responsible use of local resources. In this way, it will be necessary
to create planning strategies with a sustainable development.
As such, it is imperative that the urban and architectural action in Santo Antonio ought to be based on the minimization of the envi-
ronmental impact on the natural surroundings and the way of life of its inhabitants, taking into account the climate, socio-economic
Platform Detail and cultural data, and it is always necessary to seek effective solutions for a good performance in terms of comfort. To support
this ideal, it is necessary to consider several principles in the future intervention, such as: climatic, hydrographic and ecosystem
existing conditions; effectiveness in the use of building materials; the reduction of energy consumption. These principles aim to
achieve maximum performance on climate change and energy efficiency in order to improve and promote their sustainability,
based on self-sufficiency, stimulated by a new model of ecological sustainable growth. When designing a building in a natural way,
Nature becomes the paradigm of the activity of Architecture, the dialectical pair between destruction and construction acquires a
new creation value in order to protect Nature.
Based on these principles, the building is supported by local materials such as wood and brick masonry, and with the least possi-
ble use of concrete, creating the parallelism with the local building type.

Coverage Detail Materials | wood | brick masonry | concrete

Construction Section of the Equipment Construction Section of the Equipment

FLUMEN Spa & Hotel
The Concept
Situated between Junqueira Street and Avenida da Índia and surrounded by characteristic buildings such as the Cordoaria Nacio-
nal and the FIL Congress Center, the Flumen Spa & Hotel building completes the design of this area of Lisbon.
Its design was based on an initial idea of creating a link between the city, the land and the Tagus river. As such, it was crucial to
create a volumetry that would allow transparency and a subtle passage and permeability in the space without creating a visual
disturbance through its height or eccentricity.
Starting from a main element of strong visual impact through its glazing and height, where it is possible to observe an al-
most-sculptural element of access to the floors of the building, the design of a building with the hotel functionality was developed.
This one was drawn horizontally to continue the drawing of the city next to the river, with a clear parallel with its surrounding
Creating a totally private hotel made it necessary to think of a way to make it part of the city and its personal and urban experienc-
es,without making it a totally solitary architectural object, without experiences of space and closed in on itself and its functionality. Aerial Photos of Location
It was in this way of thinking that the public space was designed so as to involve all the inhabitants who may want to inhabit the
space temporarily and that does not create a social and spatial disturbance in this area of the city. Maintaining constantly the main
idea of permeability of the project, several spaces, both of permanence and passage, were developed to different dimensions and
kept the alignment in the volumetry of the hotel. The pedestrian passage over the road was altered in order to contribute to the
idea of the project, thus completing the clear passage and connection between the land and the river.
The addition of the spa area has strengthened the design of the hotel, always maintaining the same concept, but creating a new
one, contrary to the hotel, with its private and enclosed spaces, creating a counterbalance and a certain discordance that harmo-
nizes through its volumetric drawing.
Photo Montage of the View from the Hotel

Site Plan
4 spa sector | pool, gym, restaurant
First Plan
3 guests sector | 21 simple rooms 11
double rooms 3 triple rooms
stores and spa
2 guests sector | 52 simple rooms
1 service sector | main entrance

parking lot
Second Plan

Third Plan

Fourth Plan
Saints Housing
The Concept
The project proposes to integrate an housing space in a place where the urban void asserts itself as a disparity in relation to its
surroundings, where during day and night the experiences involve all its surrounding space. The biggest challenges were the
different hights of the adjacent streets to the place and how to create a comfortable space for the inhabitants considering the local
Taking into account these challenges, it was proposed in the south of the new building the integration of an exterior space with Location Plan
the possible use by people who may not inhabit the building, through a qualified public space and also the proposal of spaces
that can be used for commerce.
Thus it will be possible to create two entrance spaces for the housing building at different levels which allows its separation with
the most public space.
The design of this type of housing promotes a type of ephemeral way of living and not directed to households, in order to solve
the lack of transient housing spaces by students, workers, etc.
Through a central nucleus that includes the kitchen zone, the sanitary installation and the block of stairs, the housing develops
and creates different spaces to accommodate the needs of its inhabitants. It was important to create independent sleeping spaces
that could provide privacy for the inhabitants, often unknown to each other, through different entrances to these spaces.
All living spaces are interconnected through access galleries and that allows the connection with the outdoors.



Aerial Photos of Location

Construction Details from the Housing Prototype 8.5.

11.5. 17.5. | 29.5

14.5. 22.5.

North Elevation South Elevation

Life Parklet
The Concept
The idea of a parklet arises from the need to create new ways of living spaces in a city reigned by the use of the car and its con-
sequences. The action of withdrawing space to something inanimate to give place to life, suggests an attempt to give back the
urban spaces to the inhabitants of the city.
Starting from this principle and from the idea of centralizing our project in life, the first central point of this architectural object
arises: the tree. It represents the inhabitants’ experiences, adapting to the various situations and their surroundings, being the
nucleus and starting point for the development of space.
The quadrangular base form of the object reinforces the idea of creating a center through its division into four equal parts, so as
to adapt to various types of experiences in that small space. These divisions aim to clearly represent zones of permanence by
those who want to use the space, and are then differentiated through levels. These steps are born from the idea of a stairway, a
representation of the steps that people face each day, and the access to each suggests a path that at first may seem complicated Aerial Photos of Location
but easily travelled.
From the base plan, it was a great concern to create green zones that would complement the surroundings that lack these green
areas. Due to the reduced space, the green accommodates itself to the urban furniture that appears in the space, giving soul to
practical and functional objects.
Being a place that needs spaces of shadow for a real occupation, it was necessary to design an object that responded to this prob-
lem, having to create a pergola with a more dynamic form and that did not occupy visual importance carried out by the central tree.
The need for real living spaces in the area led to the formation of several objects that allow the inhabitants to remain in very differ-
ent ways and with the goal that it would be possible to carry out various activities and a certain ambivalence in the use of space.
From the various spaces created in the quadrangular area it was then possible to formally and physically represent the concept of
reviving space, making again the population the central point for its use, integrating it in the day-to-day life of the various inhabi-
tants and promoting the fraternization and the attempt to make room for life.

Construction Details Perspective Details