The Parque Ecológico do Gameiro is nestled in and around a small wooded valley of the arid Alentejo region of Portugal. This natural reserve provides refuge for a number of Portugal's native flora and fauna. In 2004, the government of the region held an international competition to design and build an aquarium and interpretation center that would be sited adjacent to a river and dam located within the natural reserve. In collaboration with the Portuguese architectural firm, promontório arquitectos, cosestudi developed a scheme that provided an impressive visitor experience at minimal cost within an elegantly contextual
enclosure. Our design was awarded first place in the design build competition and we were subsequently commissioned to develop the project.
In response to the rural nature of the site, the building's form and proportions are reminiscent of traditional agricultural buildings found in the Alentejo region which are characterized by simple lines, highly contrasting surfaces, and deep shadows. Within the Fluviário do Mora, a linear sequence of carefully considered exhibits is presented - initially in a main exhibit hall and subsequently in a series of smaller exhibits of more exotic species. The exhibit configuration is intended to reinforce the sense of the gradual transitionand advancement of the external landscape into the interior of the building where visitors encounter and interpret the main exhibits along a series of ramps before visiting more focused and interactive exhibits that expand on the theme of man's relationship with the natural environment.
with promontório arquitectos
Fluviário de Mora. Mora, Portugal