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Between City and Pastoral

Part 2 Project 2015
Bushra Mohamed
Kingston University Kingston | UK
Born out of the Portuguese revolution of 1974, SAAL - a social activist organisation - appointed Alvaro Siza to design a low-rise, high density housing settlement in Malaguiera outside the ancient Portuguese city of Evora. For political and economic reasons the project was cut short and Siza was unable to complete the public buildings he had intended. This project responds to their omission with a new urban figure situated between the settlement and the city.

There are three main routes that lead directly to Alvaro Siza’s Malagueira estate when you leave the city walls of Evora. The most direct approach leads the pedestrian through a transitional area, a suburban condition, with disconnected civic institutions and an inhospitable streetscape. At its westerly end, comes the connection between a short school street and an avenue with pepper trees laid out in many geometric rows, like a small wood. Going through this pepper grove one arrives at a well-stocked Supermarket and two old windmills. From the Supermarket parking lot the view opens out onto the new Bairro da Malagueira.

In the absence of the originally intended public buildings the project proposes the assimilation of the in-between site’s existing institutions and services - a secondary school and supermarket - through the creation of a market space and a new community center. It aims to re-instate the idea of a generous city space on the way to Malagueira. The urban ensemble acts as a catalyst for activity and growth, it hosts a city library, a foyer, a crèche and a learning institute.

The project explores the civility and scale of a public street, a public square, a public entrance and a public room. It creates a place of convergence for both the existing inhabitants and community of Evora and Malagueira as well as the people who come from all over the world to see Alvaro Siza’s acclaimed urban expansion.

Bushra Mohamed


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