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ARX Portugal – Abrantes Municipal Market – 2015

ARX Portugal – Abrantes Municipal Market – 2015


ARX Portugal:  http://www.arx.pt/

The project is located in the transition to the historical center, in an urban lot between two streets at different heights: Largo do Tribunal at the bottom; N. Sra da Conceição St. at the top. The extraordinarily narrow lot determined the design.

The program stated the importance of connecting these two streets, thus creating an upwards route to the Iberian Museum of Archeology and Art. Moreover, a closer analysis of the place revealed the need to consider the impact of this new building among the surrounding dwellings, diverse in architecture quality and construction dates, but also considerably smaller.

Typology-wise, a market is a building where the concept of public space is taken to the limit: it takes place on the streets, and sellers do their businesses in carts, makeshift stands and tents, making the market place and the city space merge or coincide.

The new market is at once building and street. One can cut across, going from one street to the other, either through the stairway opened at the northern edge, or wandering between the stands and the spiral staircase located at the southern edge. Deep down, it is basically a street, shaped with walls and covered by a white-washed shell of exposed concrete.

On the top of the building two volumes capture the sunlight that flows to the lower floors through openings in the slabs at each level, softly lighting all spaces, highlighting the concrete’s texture and exposing the passing of the hours.


architects: ARX Portugal

location: Esplanada 1º de Maio, Abrantes, Portugal

surface:  1280 sqm

year/status:  2010-2015 (built)

structure: Structural concrete

materials: Painted concrete, stroked concrete, painted plasterboard, U glass, stainless steel stands

project team: José Mateus and Nuno Mateus with Ricardo Guerreiro, Fábio Cortês, Ana Fontes, Bruno Martins, Filipe Cardoso, João Dantas, Marc Anguill, Sofia Raposo, Miguel Torres

client/contractor: Câmara Municipal de Abrantes

partner/consultants: Energia Técnica; SAFRE

photography: FG + SG fotografia de arquitectura

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