The scope of this project consisted in the conception of an industrial facility for EDP, a global energycompany, to act as a base for the observation and control of a dam in case of emergency.
Located in Ermida, in Portugal’s midlands, this area is defined by a beautiful course of water and issurrounded by a large forest.
The building needed to stay in an elevated location, protected from floods and allowing a perfect viewfrom its interior to the dam. This made it necessary to intervene in the landscape, resulting in anelevated level platform and vehicle access leading to the entrance of the building.
Designing an industrial building in a forest area, with occasional traditional constructions with pitchedroofs in the surroundings, allowed me to think about how a contemporary industrial building might fit inthis landscape.
How could this building avoid being just another contemporary ‘box’?
Could a contemporary building interpret, in a modern way, the traditional constructions visible in itssurroundings?
Dams and associated buildings, in Portugal, are traditionally built in concrete.
Ermida, the name of the location, means small church or chapel.
With this in mind, the idea of designing a building with a concrete pitched roof emerged.
A contemporary industrial project that could reinterpret traditional roofs covered with tiles and alsoidentify with the name of the location.
The concrete appeared as a continuous shell – skin and skeleton – that served as walls and roof, as wellas finishing and waterproofing material.
In between, covering both the front and rear facades, other materials such as aluminium and glassemerged:
- The entrance was defined as totally opaque in aluminium, with the exception of two glazed doors, announcing the main door;
- The rear facade oversaw the dam, totally in glass, except an area where ventilation was required.
This materiality emphasized the concrete contour.
A contemporary industrial building that aimed to reinterpret traditional constructions, honour the location´s name and respect the materiality of the architectural history at EDP.