Sculpture museum de Caxias, Lisbon
As an academic exercise, for the final year of the university, it was asked of us the design of a sculpture museum in Caxias, a village in Lisbon surroundings.
The village features a North-South division imposed by the railway and the coast road that run all the way from Lisbon to Cascais serving what is known as "Costa do Sol". In Caxias, road and railway run the full length together separating, as a powerful fence, the beaches and the old coast fortresses from the rest of the village. Although responsible for the urban development of the coast, road and railway represent a paradox, inasmuch as the very population that settled the coast because of the good accesses is itself cut-off from the sea amenities by those very accesses, which, by the obstruction they caused, transform sea and river in little more than a view. Sea and river became no more than a view.
The main idea was to transform the physical barrier represented by the road and the railway into a permeable barrier that would allow a more open dialogue between the urban Caxias and its seaside. The main question became: - How to build a bridge capable of supporting a road and a railway while designing a museum?
In order to build a bridge that would connect the two sides, I drew a number of reinforced concrete porticoes placed perpendicularly to the road and railway, spaced 1 m apart. To create the museum space I drew holes in each of these porticoes in such a way that when together they would form a maze of tunnels that would join to make large halls or diverge to provide logical connections, creating thus the museum spaces.
The Museum is intended as a permeable border through its central Hall situated between the "Jardim das Palmeiras" (palm garden) and the "Forte de São Bruno" beach, taking advantage of the fact that the level of the ground is the same in both sides. The coastal road in this particular segment was built over an embankment and the museum structure will replace the whole embankment working as a bridge. The museum has a 4 m elevation corresponding to the difference between the beach / garden level and the road / railway level. This facade is composed by the drawing of the vertical porticoes separated by glass windows allowing a visual contact through the museum between the northern palm garden and the beach in the south. In the main hall it is possible to cross from one side to the other.
To emphasize the contradiction of pathways provided by the building: the new urban one, perpendicular to the one developed in itself, I used the idea of movement present in Marcel Duchamp’s "Jeune homme triste dains un train".
Caxias, Portugal 2006