Completed in 2014 by Portuguese Architect firm Menos e Mais, The Arquipélago – Contemporary Arts Centre maintains the whole industrial character and highlights the dialogue between the existing building and the new constructions.
Contemporary Arts Centre Arquipelago Technical Information
- Architect1-2: Menos é Mais Arquitectos + João Mendes Ribeiro
- Location: Ribeira Grande, Portugal
- Topics: Art Centers, Black Architecture, Renovation
- Area: 12,914 m2
- Project Year: 2014
- Photographer: © Courtesy of Menos é Mais
The Arquipelago – Contemporary Arts Centre seeks to unite the different scales and times of its parts. It is a transdisciplinary project whose mission is to disseminate, create and produce emerging culture
– Menos é Mais Arquitectos
Contemporary Arts Centre Arquipelago Article from Menos é Mais Arquitectos
The Arquipélago – Contemporary Arts Centre seeks to unite the different scales and times of its parts.
It is a transdisciplinary project whose mission is to disseminate, create and produce emerging culture: a space of exchange and interface for people, knowledge, and events.
The design of Arquipélago – Contemporary Arts Centre – maintains the industrial character of the whole and highlights the dialogue between an existing building (former factory of alcohol/tobacco) and the new construction (arts and culture center, storage facilities, multipurpose hall / performing arts, laboratories, artist studios).
The Arquipélago – Contemporary Arts Centre acquires its identity by the quiet variation between the preexistence and the two new buildings. The containment strategy of facilities implementation enhances the spatial efficiency and hierarchical functionality of the different areas of the existing factory complex. The new buildings absorb the required functionalities, with special conditions, not compatible with the spatiality of preexisting buildings.
The project of the Arquipélago does not exaggerate the differences between the old and the new buildings. On the contrary, it seeks to unite the different scales and times of its parts through a pictorial manipulation of the buildings’ form and materiality – the existing constructions are marked by the volcanic stone masonry. The new buildings are characterized by an abstract form, without reference or allusion to any language, built-in concrete with local basalt inert continuously working with the variety of surfaces’ textures and rugosity, complementing the buildings’ mass with the emptiness of the patios.
Contemporary Arts Centre Arquipelago Interior Views
The design is committed to the quality of what exists, showing the typological variations – new buildings are placed next to the existing ones in a serene manner – underlining the architectonical memory of a given period and the new addition, without damaging or subverting the spatial and constructive structures of the whole. Context and contiguity contribute to the autonomy of the object.
The new program reinvents the existing building, making it a meaningful space in a peripheral region in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Arquipélago – Contemporary Arts Centre adds meaning to the social and cultural context where it is built. A new Public Space is materialized in a central square/patio where art feels comfortable and blurs the frontiers between private and public spheres, leisure and work, art and life.
The aspects of the buildings’ sustainable performance were addressed through its materiality (structures, infrastructures) and the absorption of the existing handcrafted knowledge enriched by their timeless way of building. The sustainable measures adopted are passive systems seeking comfort for the users: the density of the concrete walls offers inertia and energy efficiency; the rainwater is reused.
Contemporary Arts Centre Arquipelago Plans
Contemporary Arts Centre Arquipelago Gallery
About Menos é Mais Arquitectos
Menos é Mais Arquitectos is an office based in Porto by Francisco Vieira de Campos (Porto) and Cristina Guedes (Macau) in 1994. The ability to do more with less is their motto, seeking to balance the “economy” of means with the “wealth” in the users’ materiality and emotional involvement. Their works are a pragmatic response to specific contexts. These principles are visible in their first works as well as in the Archipelago Centro de Artes Contemporânea, on São Miguel’s island in the Azores (co-authoring Menos é Mais with JMR).
- Architect in Charge: Francisco Vieira de Campos (João Mendes Ribeiro Arquitecto), Cristina Guedes, João Mendes Ribeiro (Menos é Mais Arquitectos)
- Project Team: Inês Mesquita, Cristina Maximino, João Pontes, Luís Campos, Ana Leite Fernandes, Mariana Sendas, Pedro Costa, Inês Ferreira, João Fernandes, Ricardo Cardoso, Óscar Ribas, Ana Cerqueira, Joana Figueiredo, João Branco, Filipe Catarino, António Ferreira da Silva, Cláudia Santos, Ana Rita Martins