Escola de Artes in Porto brings together a new art school and communal exhibition areas. The project is situated in Campo dos Mártires da Pátria, right in front of the Jardim da Cordoaria, and next to the city’s historical center. Our proposal focuses on creating an enclosed public space that is also isolated from the urban hustle. The new building provides multiple access to the historic building, redefining the existing oversized square with a building that rises all around it, using the historical façade of the Escola de Fotografia as a scenographic backdrop.

The school building is actually a multi-functional and dynamic place, highly connected with the city. The new facade acts as an acoustic barrier for the school activities, and its presence and colour change as you walk on the street. The cladding is inspired by traditional Portuguese ceramics and uses three-dimensional double-coloured tiles that give material quality to the surface. The internal and external spaces are linked seamlessly, with the plaza sinking slightly into the ground, giving a sense of surrounding.

Internal space benefits from natural light that comes from a sunlight-diffusion system. In order to protect internal spaces from overheating, diffusers are mounted between the glass ceiling and roofing beams, preventing direct irradiation and providing seasonally changing light throughout the year. Under the ceiling, a fabric canopy is laid out, and this guarantees glare prevention, better acoustics and a relaxing internal appearance.

A public terrace, which faces the historical building, is located on the first floor and is easily accessible from ground level. On the opposite side of the building a stepped terrace can be used to accommodate an audience during events taking place in the square. The whole building decreases in volume towards the pre-existence and is properly cut to let the background emerge.

The architectural language of the project is based on two archetypical elements, the wall and the column, and these together generate the floor plan and then space. Glass and white surfaces give aesthetic contemporaneity and ensure contrast with the historical background.

Porto, Portugal


School of Art / Gallery


Andrea LUI