An archipelago is said to be “a large group or chain of islands” or “a large body of water with many islands“. The Azores Islands, for example, form an archipelago. On the island of San Miguel lies Ribeira Grande, a small town where last spring, portuguese architects João Mendes Ribeiro and Menos é Mais Arquitectos (Cristina Guedes and Francisco Vieira de Campos) started works for a new center for the contemporary arts.
Designed in collaboration between both teams (João Mendes Ribeiro Arquitecto and Menos é Mais Arquitectos) , the building is a restoration of a former factory of tobacco and alcohol distillery with added new constructions and technical facilities. As an archipelago, the new Centre for Contemporary Arts is imagined to work as a connective space for people and cultural events. A shared, dialectical space between the new buildings and the industrial heritage, hosting art laboratories, a multipurpose hall for performing arts and storage facilities.
This new complex due to be inaugurated in 2015 has been recently nominated for the European Mies van der Rohe Award. This is not the first time that Menos é Mais -Cristina Guedes and Francisco Vieira de Campo- have been nominated for the prize. In 2013 the Porto-based office were presented as nominees with their project for the Teleferico de Gaia in Lisbon.
Quoting the architects –
The design is committed to the quality of what exists showing the typological variations – new buildings are placed next to the existing ones in a serene manner – underlining the architectonical memory of a given period and the new addition, without damaging or subverting the spatial and constructive structures of the whole. Context and contiguity contribute to the autonomy of the object. The new program reinvents the existent building, making it a meaningful space in a peripheral region in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
The Arquipélago – Contemporary Arts Centre adds meaning to the social and cultural context where it is built. A new Public Space is materialized in a central square/patio where art feels comfortable and blurs the frontiers between private and public spheres, leisure and work, art and life.
Learn more about Arquipélago clicking here for a promotional video.
All rights reserved to the authors.