SAAL Bouça Housing Complex

Porto, Portugal


The set of blocks for the Bouça Housing Unit – Cooperative Águas Férreas are constituted by four blocks in Band. These new designed Blocks will now complete, the housing projected in 1975, two from four Blocks.

The 1975 structural project conceived buildings, using traditional construction, walls of resistant block´s and pre-fabricated concrete slabs, serving to build very economical (4000 obs. / m2 at the time). At the time the resistant blocks (MECAN type) and pre-fabricated slabs (DAVIGA type) of quality were very competitive comparatively to reinforced concrete; as a result of the reinforced concrete execution technologies were undergoing and uneconomic.

The buildings now designed maintain an identical solution composed by pre-fabricated slabs with pre-stressed beams supported on loadbearing block term mixed clay and concrete columns. The existence of the parking basement, on the coverage of which will support some of the blocks of housing now designed, justified the choice of concrete to the level of a floor in that area, since it is a less sensitive to small deformations of the base support.

The underground cellars are designed without expansion joints and the buildings above level 0, in other words, the coverage of the cellars or the natural land in the case of inexistent cellars, with expansion joints in accordance with the spacing of the original design.

As for the Foundation was an adopted mat-slab foundation in the case of blocks without cellars, and spread footing foundations interconnected by a reinforced concrete slab in the case of cellars.

For me the completion of the residential complex in the Bouça quarter was almost a surprise. I had never lost hope that it would be finished. Especially due to the continuous pressure on the part of the inhabitants of the units from the first phase, which had never been completed. After a gap of 30 years the commitment of the federation of cooperatives turned out to be decisive to make the Câmara municipal do Porto and the Instituto nacional habitação decide to finish the job. The Bouça was a relatively inexpansive project, and in 1974 it could not have been otherwise. Years later, discussion revealed the desire (and the possibility though limited) of making improvement in quality and comfort. It was necessary to respond to the needs expressed, though some were on preconceptions that accompany objective improvement in quality of life. So once again the project involved participation.​

 in Oporto 12.09.2006, Casabella 765, p.29


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Location: Porto, Portugal
Client: SAAL
Year: 2000
Area: 41 118 m2