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[ R E ] - C O N S T R U C T I N G   P O R T O


The Massarellos School of  Construction

Behind the intricate tiled facades and terracotta roofs, the city of Porto is slowly crumbling away. An intensive rental freezing initiative under the dictatorship government left many buildings derelict and abandoned. Today 32% of the historic city centre is in a state of decay. Much of the city’s architectural heritage is at risk of being lost forever.

In response to this neglect, the Massarellos School of Construction provides a nurturing learning environment where students are trained with specialist practical and theoretical skills to successfully rehabilitate the city’s sensitive urban fabric. By combining college level teaching, university level research and small start-up businesses, the facility becomes a holistic hub for construction knowledge. It provides opportunities for cross fertilisation of ideas and serendipitous meeting, blurring the boundary between academic teaching and the commercial reality. Questioning the role of current educational buildings, the scheme explores the idea of a ‘living demonstrator’ and presents a model for sustainable construction. 

Set amongst the derelict remains of a former Massarellos Ceramics Factory, the design acknowledges the historic warehouse typology whilst embracing modern craft and construction techniques. It draws influence from traditional Portuguese vernacular, particularly through the use of materials and the interpretation of pattern. With sensitive interventions and spatial planning around existing structures, the site’s industrial heritage is preserved and celebrated, setting a precedent for creative reuse throughout the rest of the city.

The once neglected waterfront is transformed into an active and vibrant passageway. Large glazed sliding windows look out over the River Douro and reveal the inner workings of the school. A south-facing colonnade encourages the public to engage with the building and activity within. Through exhibition spaces, a café and a lecture theatre, the building becomes a landmark destination for visitors wishing to learn about the significance of the former factory and explore the unique work of the construction school.

Awards & Nominations:

RIBA Wessex Design Prize Winner      

3D Reid Prize Winner

RIBA Silver Medal Nomination

European Architectural Medal Winner

U N L O C K I N G   T H E   I S L A N D


The Campanhã Masterplan

The Campanhã masterplan proposes a bold, re-imagining of a forgotten part of Porto.  An area once defined by abandoned industry and trapped by major infrastructure is transformed into an active and vibrant extension of the city.


High quality housing with much needed access to green space encourages young people and young families to remain within the city. Dual aspect maisonettes incorporate features to encourage social interaction and an outdoor lifestyle, including Juliet balconies, shaded overhangs, benched seating and communal roof gardens. Shared surfaces, community parks and generous communal gardens combine to form a welcoming urban realm. Shared growing facilities encourage residents to produce a small amount of their own fruit and vegetables and attempt to foster successful relationships between neighbours.


Exploiting the proximity to the main railway station in Porto, an extensive business spine is also proposed. With a focus towards commercial activity, research facilities and live/work units, this hub attempts to retain invested knowledge and counteract the increasing problem of ‘brain drain’.

A cable car system links an underground car park to the east with the railway station to the west. This innovative transport solution successfully negotiates the steep topography providing quick and efficient transportation with minimal impact on the surrounding landscape. By consolidating all of the parking into one area, the residential units become car-free, creating a safe outdoor environment where the streets are given back to pedestrians.


A tall concrete wall previously defined the edge of the river Douro with an under-used road and several derelict buildings. The proposal draws inspiration from the terracing of the Douro Valley, with a series of platforms that step down to the water, creating a greater connection between the city and its river. Strands of soft landscaping allow residents and visitors to occupy the terracing as well as providing an additional habitat for local ecology and reducing localised flooding. A shaded pedestrian route and cycle path now occupies the upper terrace with a new tramline that connects to the city centre and urban park.

I M A G I N E   B A T H

The Grand Parade LIDO

The hot water bubbling below the surface of Bath has been the city’s raison d’etre for thousands of years. Today the spa waters are a major tourist attraction at the Roman Baths, after which they are exhausted by an underground pipe to the river just south of Pulteney Weir, flushing out at approximately 37 degrees.


The Grand Parade Lido proposes a unique bathing experience where everyone can appreciate and enjoy the true natural spring water in an iconic location on the river. 

The project is intended to be temporary installation to highlight how much hot water is being wasted and encourage future development in Bath to harnesses this unique underused resource.


RIBA Design Award

S T U D I O   I N   T H E   W O O D S

Designing & Making

The Studio in the Woods summer workshop invites students, architects and designers to work together to design and build a permanent timber installation within Stanton Park, near Swindon in Wiltshire.


The proposal plays with the theme of scale, becoming an oversized extruded doorway set within a forest clearing. Raised up from the ground, users are invited to step up onto the platform and discover framed views of the surrounding landscape. Smaller openings in the side offer an alternative playful entrance for children and willing adults. The structure is made entirely from green larch that was felled and milled on site. The timber was left untreated with the intention that it will naturally weather to a silver grey and eventually sit sympathetically into the surrounding context.



To see how the project developed along with other SITW schemes, check out the video below courtesy of Yannis Katsaris.


The projects were also featured on Dezeen, the world’s most popular and influential architecture, interiors and design magazine. The read the full text, check out the link below:

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