Portugal is not a Mediterranean country, but the fact that it has been conquered by people from the south, Romans and Arabs, has left us with a southern culture and life style, where there is a balance between privacy and life in society.
1- The Alcabideche Social Complex is a housing complex promoted by the Fundação Social do Quadro Bancário (Social Foundation for the Banking Sector), of high quality in terms of construction and landscape, intended as housing for the elderly.
2-Located in Cascais, in the metropolitan area of Lisbon, the Social Complex of Alcabideche with a total construction area of approximately 10,000 m2 aims to reconstitute a Mediterranean life style in which the outdoor spaces of streets, plazas and gardens are like an extension of the house itself.
3- The complex was designed using a state-of-the-art modern functional and technical program, where the human component was always paramount.
4- Concluded in 2012 it comprises 52 houses (housing units intended for elderly couples) and a main support building that houses the social areas, a nursing area with individual rooms and an area for bedridden patients. The connective layout with a modulation of 7.5m has, as in a Medina, streets of different widths reserved for pedestrians who enjoy the protection of the shade provided by the houses by day and at night are guided by the light the houses give off.
5- In this project light is joy. The translucid roofs light up at the end of the day in groups of 10, alternately, over the area of the complex, subtly and evenly lighting up streets, plazas and gardens. A calm but cheerful atmosphere is created that allows users to circulate at night among the different levels and spaces of the complex without worries or constraints. In the event of an emergency, users can activate an alarm that alerts the control station located in the central building and the box-shaped roof’s light changes: the large white box turns red.
6-The sustainability and environmental balance of the whole complex stems from the systematic consideration of the relationship between the initial cost of the investment and its operating costs, aware that a reduction in the later normally requires an increase in the former. The final solutions depend on the effectiveness of its form or on the efficacy of the functioning of the choices of systems and materials to be used.
7- Exposed concrete and plexiglass are the main materials in the Complex’s architecture. As the houses are the structural elements of the whole complex it was on their conception that we based the design and operational principles. The houses are formed by a nucleus of exposed concrete with a “rough” formwork of wooden lathes that house the habitable area, living room and kitchen, bedroom and bathroom and a box in which the material, plexiglass, has specific characteristics: reflection of the sun’s rays (white), being impermeable, being resistant to the weather and to fire and which allows the light in (translucid). The stabilization of the temperature on the inside of the housing units is due to the reflective properties of the white box of the roof and the thermal efficiency of the air cushion created between the plexiglass box and the concrete base.
8- The central building, within the same modelling and principles, contains all of the common services necessary for proper functioning and quality of living. It includes the electricity production systems, the photovoltaic plant, which supply the habitable areas of the residence, namely for water heating, the air-conditioning system and the heated flooring.
The concern to recycle natural resources was also reflected in the use of water from a groundwater source, which appeared when the foundations were being dug, for irrigating the green areas and washing the roads and pavements, thereby also helping to reduce the cost of running the complex.
Elderly persons’ residence.
Location of the Works: Alcabideche, Cascais, Portugal
Area of the Plot: 12876m2
Total construction area - 9956m2
Area of each housing unit: 53m2
Total Area of Housing Units: 2.756m2
Area of the Main Building: above ground - 2700m2 below ground - 4500m2 total - 7200m2
Promoter: Fundação Social do Quadro Bancário
Architecture: Guedes Cruz Arquitectos- José Guedes Cruz, César Marques, Marco Martinez Marinho
Architecture Collaborators: Patrícia Maria Matos, Nelson Aranha, João Simões, Isabel Granes, Bruno Guedes Cruz