on the alfama slope, lisbon is an amphitheater looking out into the tagus estuary. at the foot of the hill, on the flats of the early 20th century landfill of the port, the building of JLCG architects‘ recently designed cruise terminal echoes, and returns, the gaze: a small platform, apparently with its back to the river, looks back at the city.


on the alfama slope, lisbon is an amphitheater looking out into the tagus estuary
image © rita burmester

 

 

portuguese based firm joao luis carrilho da graca architects presented one of the most compact buildings to the 2010 international competition. the lisbon cruise terminal is inserted — with the open-air car park and the tidal tank — between the walls of the landfilled former ‘jardim do tabaco’ dock, seeming not to touch the ground, between the trees of the park/boulevard that, along with the building, now inhabits this stretch of the river front. raised from the ground, the project lifts the public space along with itself, transformed into a terrace/viewpoint — abstract topography — between river and city, like a transshipment raft that connects and reveals both.


at the foot of the hill, on the flats of the 20th century landfill of the port, the cruise terminal echoes
image © fg+sg

 

 

the program of JLCG architects’ terminal is housed under this shell, raised ground. it includes a car park underground (connected to the open-air car park); luggage delivery, processing and claim, at ground level; passengers (check-in, waiting lounge, VIP lounge, duty-free shopping, public access coffee shop) in the upper level; all flexible spaces, as are those of the park/boulevard, that allow for the future evolution of the terminal, as for events of other nature to take place outside the hours, and seasons, of its use as a maritime station.


it is inserted — with the open-air car park and the tidal tank — between the walls of the landfilled dock
image © fg+sg

 

 

this sort of exoskeleton, that encircles the areas assigned to the terminal’s program, is built of structural concrete with cork. a solution specifically developed to lighten the building’s weight, limited by the preexisting foundations, stemming from a concept by carrilho da graça originally for the lisbon design biennale’s ‘experimentadesign’. the outcome results in a particular haptic quality that lightens up with the sunlight reflected on the estuary — the famous ‘ light of lisbon’.


this sort of exoskeleton is built of structural concrete with cork
image © fg+sg

 

 

virtually blind on the river side — from where the building appears as a discreet stony socle of the city — and creasing, on the city side, just enough to reveal its access points. JLCG architects’ cruise terminal mediates the visual relations between its users and the river and lisbon: in a building that is used almost always in motion — along the gangway, in the loggias that give access to the ships or from these to descend directly into the city, walking on the rooftop, on the tangential approaches to the main facade — the gaze wanders, cinematic.


a shell specifically developed to lighten the building’s weight
image © fg+sg


the building creases on the city side, just enough to reveal its access points
image © rita burmester


the program of JLCG architects’ terminal is housed under this shell, raised ground
image © fg+sg


passengers’ check-in, waiting lounge, duty-free shopping and public access coffee shop in the upper level
image © fg+sg


passengers’ area overlooks luggage delivery and processing and claim at ground level
image © fg+sg


JLCG architects’ cruise terminal mediates the visual relations between its users and the river and lisbon
image © fg+sg


outdoor connection from the building to the loggias 
image © fg+sg


virtually blind on the river side — from where the building appears as a discreet stony socle of the city
image © fg+sg


the building is almost always in motion — along the gangway or in the loggias that give access to the ships
image © fg+sg


the project lifts the public space along with itself, transformed into a terrace between river and city
image © fg+sg


a small amphitheater, apparently with its back to the river, looks back at lisbon
image © fg+sg

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