The Horse Riding Centre has extremely rich history, linked to the region of Alto de Trás-os-Montes and the passion of the local inhabitants for horses and equestrian sports. It is also the story of one of the best jumping of Europe, and its relationship with Pedras Salgadas Park in the peak of spa tourism. And it is a story of declines. The Horse Riding Centre decayed gradually but from the 1990s onwards this accentuated to an apparently irreversible extent. Restoration works started up in 2013. Times have changed and so have the user’s needs.
The spectators are no longer a tiny privileged class and the modernisation of show business has brought in democratisation in access to these things. The new international rules for tenders have implied a deep reformulation. The need to ensure the profitability of the Riding Centre has led to a necessary redesign of the model of obtaining revenue, based on the very low seasonality of the jumping competitions. 32 boxes and a riding arena have been built.
The new buildings fit in easily with the existing buildings and the surrounding nature. The boxes, for example, are covered with cork panels. In addition to being an indigenous material, cork, upon aging, will acquire textures and tones similar to those of the surrounding woods, merging organically into the landscape. However, the most emblematic example of this architecture of invisibility is the riding arena. Totally covered with trunks, it appears to have been adopted and embraced by the surrounding vegetation. The trunks and time will ensure its full absorption by the flora, making it definitively part of it.