THE ASSISTED PEDESTRIAN PATH FROM BAIXA TO CASTELO DE SÃO JORGE
Introduction ‘The assisted pedestrian path from Baixa to Castelo de S. Jorge’ is a global project integrating different interventions such as: 1. Rua da Vitoria, urban requalification, the lower level path’s main axis, from Rua do Crucifixo to Rua dos Fanqueiros; 2. The Public Lifts Building which is the reconversion of the whole building of Rua dos Fanqueiros, 170-178 and the ground floor and basement of Rua da Madalena 147-155 to integrate the public lifts which assist the transition to the path’s upper level; 3. And the urban requalification of the Largo Adelino Amaro da Costa and all the way to Castelo de S. Jorge’s level which is still under construction
Rua da Vitoria - Urban requalification
The requalification of the urban space is a fundamental contribution for the revitalization of this city’s area.
It’s the intention of the Master plan for Baixa Pombalina to ‘consolidate the concept of big outdoor commercial space promoting management actions that create the necessary conditions for competitivity: cleanliness, security, illumination, promotion, logistisc, office hours among others. That is turning Rua da Vitória and Rua de Santa Justa into live arteries of commercial and restoration offer, reinforced by the accessibility from Baixa to Castelo..’
The intervention aims to meet the assumptions set out above; it replaces the existing pavement for stone slabs of “Lioz” limestone, with a honed finishing which gives a great comfort to the users, being the linking element of the whole intervention. In steeper slope streets the pavement will be in cubes of granite in order to create more friction and avoid accidents.
The intervention is interrupted in the main perpendicular arteries, Rua do Ouro, Rua Augusta, Rua da Prata and Rua dos Fanqueiros, on the grounds that these pathways are hierarchically more important.
The pavement drawing derives directly from the architecture. The Pombaline metric is the ruler since the buildings’ corners and implantation are the gear for the stone metric that is transversal to the path and aligned with the corners and axis of the building’s façades along the whole street. The stone slabs’ width is always a multiple of the palm (22cm), 44 or 66cm with variable lengths.
The Public Lifts Building The Public Lifts Building, along with the ground floor will have a basement floor for the toilet facilities, technical and storage areas and three upper floors aimed for commercial or other public services.
The building’s entrance from Rua da Vitoria will have double height and it will be primarily used as a lobby for welcome and information. From there people can either use one of the three public lifts or the stairs to easily ascend to the upper level, This vertical access core will be transparent, like a ‘glass box’, allowing light to enter all the way until the lobby at the ground floor. It works as a light shaft located immediately before the bearing wall.
The positioning of the lifts in the existing building next to the masonry wall was an important assumption for the project, enhancing the characteristics of the lot itself and its location, in order to avoid demolishing the pre-existing retaining wall.
The Public Lifts Building intends to be a natural extension of the urban exterior towards the interior, naturally demonstrating its public character inviting its use and benefits.
Once reached the upper level of Rua da Vitoria’s building, the transition to the exterior is made possible by using the ground floor of Rua da Madalena’s building
Originally this building had a basement level that was preserved and restored the level of the courtyard, thus allowing light and natural ventilation to come in.
At the ground floor level, the transition from the lift to the lobby of Rua da Madalena will be a lightweight structure covered with glass in order to allow the air and light to cross to the lower floor.
The present intervention aims to be a natural extension of the urban environment, intended to invite users to bridge the gap between Baixa Pombalina and the Castelo de S. Jorge’s hill. Although we are dealing with an exceptional program bound to result in a building with unique features inside its urban context, this intervention is one of respect for the main characteristics and standards that regulate the actions on this part of the town. The building is like a piece of a whole and not a dissonant element, Baixa is the key player.