Laguarda.Low Architects, LLC

Laguarda.Low Architects, LLC

New York, NY


Caldas da Rainha

An innovative bridge, double-loaded with retail, acts as a functional and symbolic gateway looking to the future without forgetting Caldas da Rainha’s unique history. The sweeping form bursts forth in fluid forms from the historical context of its surroundings.

Located in a small Portugese city one hour north of Lisbon famous for the medicinal properties of its hot springs, this retail center seems to burst forth in fluid forms from the historical context of its surroundings. The city of Caldas da Rainha was founded in the 15th century by the discovery of its hot springs by Queen Leonor. The name literally translates to “Hot Springs of the Queen.” These springs were found to cure or alleviate symptoms of a number of diseases. For this reason, a Thermal Hospital was founded on the site of the springs that is still in operation today that draws in visitors and patients from all over Portugal.

The project site is located near the heart of the city on the major ring road. An existing Supermarket is located across the ring road from the project site, so there was a major opportunity to bridge the project over the road and create a new gateway into the city while connecting the shopping center to the supermarket. The design of this new gateway for the city looks to the future, while never forgetting the city’s unique history. The project’s massing takes on two separate forms that work in harmony with each other. To the rear of the project, the massing is very rectilinear and echoes the form of the city’s most famous building, the hotel at which patients visiting the Thermal Hospital would stay. This historical façade envelopes a multi-level parking garage and integrates it into the building. From this historical context, come a series of fluid forms that spring forward to form the bridge that connects to the supermarket. At the pinnacle of these forms on the third level, is an outdoor terrace from which patrons can view out toward the surrounding landscape and the future of the city. This dichotomy of form creates a unique building that is both rooted in the past and reaching towards the future of this growing city.

Caldas da Rainha has a rich history of ceramic artists, the most famous of which is Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, for whom the center is named. The bulkheads surrounding the interior shops are clad with original ceramic tile designs by Pinheiro, further rooting the project into the rich history of this city.

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Status: Under Construction
Location: Caldas da Rainha, Portugal