area 100 | changing cities

architect: Guedes - Vieira de Campos

location: Porto, Portugal

year: 19931994

Café do Cais sits on the right margin of the Douro river in the Ribeira district of Oporto. It pretends to continue the logic of those provisional elements - Kiosks on the street side and boats anchored in the quays - that are constant in this river neighbourhood. The notion of precariousness is accentuated by the way the pavilion sits on the pavement: a raised pre-fabricated platform of 40x10 not only limits but levels the intervention with the pavilion also gently floating on it. The building - a glass and steel pavilion – is protruded on its northern facade by two boxes, as autonomous as abstract – sits on this platform. These boxes, with a slate facia finish, contain the service areas for the bar, evoking – by their dimension – the neighbouring kiosks. Given its size the effects of transparency and reflection allow the building to “disappear”, thus minimizing the size of the pavilion. As a couterpoint to its strong environmental historical weight, the building allows for both omission and absence, like the materials and the way they are used, such as in the detailing of the corner situation that allow – once open – their “disappearence”. Seen from the south the building almost fades away behind a large canvas canopy itself hiding the roof slab. The provisional character of this building and the proximity to the river made us use the nautical vocabulary on the system of canvas for the deck: masts, ironmongery, the logic of the trimming of sails were consistently tried in the construction of this canvas canopy.

architects: Cristina Guedes + Francisco Vieira de Campos
foundations and structures: Luís Durão + Paulo Queiroz
constructor: SPQ, Sociedade de Engenharia Lda
promoter: APDL e CRUARB
client: Animafoz, Lda - José Manuel Simões
date of project: October 1993 – April 1994
date of construction: July 1994 – August 1994
floor area: 400 sqm (120 sqm covered area; 280 sqm uncovered area)
location: Cais da Estiva, Ribeira, Porto, Portugal
photos: Luís Ferreira Alves, Luís Palma