The visible growth of immigration in Portugal dates back to the end of the 1990s. This reality surprised the country and the needs associated with this migratory flow were not long in coming: the review of the reception and integration processes of these new citizens became evident and urgent.
It was in this context that the project was commissioned in 2002, more specifically with the identification of serious gaps and needs in the community of eastern immigrants recently arrived in Porto.
The available land totalled around 2000 m2: 20m in front, 100m in depth, totally irregular perimeter (size and shape uncommon in the city of Porto).
As a land management strategy, a surface was defined that would extend the available space up to its limits. In this surface the building would be placed at street level and a sequence of courtyards would be cut out according to natural lighting needs, programme and regulatory requirements.
The first cut-out, leaning against the back of the building, defines a patio that is fundamental for punctuating the entrance to the Centre, separating the programmes and opening the Centre to the street.
The second courtyard was created to light up the sequence of offices and temporary accommodation (individual and family).
The most significant part of the roof – the central landscaped courtyard – aggregates the Centre’s social, recreational and educational programme: multi-purpose hall, ateliers, classrooms/children’s play area and chapel/ecumenical space (independent volume);
And finally the service courtyard at the top opposite the street, serves the laundry, linen, clothesline, staff and larger toilet facilities.