The Canopy Walkway in Serralves | CARLOS CASTANHEIRA ARCHITECTS

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Release Time: August 11, 2021
PROJECT CREDITS

Architects : Carlos Castanheira

Office: CC&CB – Architects, Lda.

Project Architect: Nuno Rodrigues

Project Team: Filipe Mota, Diana Velho , Catarina Araújo , Gil Lima , Sara Cabral

3D and Rendering: Germano Vieira

Structural Project: Paulo Fidalgo – HDP,Lda

Structural Project Team: Rui Almeida , Paulo Cachim , Pedro Neto

ITED Project: Fernando Ferreira - Gatengel, Lda

Contractor: Portilame, Lda

Photography: Fernando Guerra , FG+SG - Fotografia de Arquitectura

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 © Fernando Guerra

A visit to Serralves is always a walk through space, in time or in the time of space. Creating a new walk that complements the existing ones, could only be in the canopy of the beautiful and imposing trees of the Park. The walk starts at the furthest eastern end of the Park – just where the “Casa do Cinema” is now being built – it rises gently, bringing us up into the tree canopy, as the ground runs away beneath our feet, it rises skyward.

 © Fernando Guerra

 © Fernando Guerra

 © Fernando Guerra

 © Fernando Guerra

We approach a cork tree, without touching it, we go around its rough cork trunk and continue on towards an elegant sequoia. Almost flying ourselves, we approach some bird feeders. We catch sight of a shy wild pigeon, a blackbird clambering between branches and a jay that appears to be hopping through the air. We hear the hammering of a woodpecker as it searches out insects from the bark of a tree. We understand that a tree is a world in itself, full of Life. A diverse and complex life. We stop at the points where we can take a rest and spy on the life that is taking place in the tree canopy.

 © Fernando Guerra

 © Fernando Guerra

 © Fernando Guerra

We cross paths with a group school of children, their questions produce a tremendous chirping sound as they look for answers to satisfy their curiosity. One family, represented by all its generations is passing along the walkway; the youngest looking out of a pram, while the oldest uses a wheelchair. It is easy to enjoy the walk and take it all in. In the amphitheatre space, a guide addresses a group, explaining some detail of the fauna and the flora of the route. Passers-by stop and linger. They take it all in. We are now quite high up; such is the height of the Canopy in the Park. We search for new, never seen, never felt views and we long for, however brief, some panoramic view of Foz do Douro and the infinite Atlantic.

 © Fernando Guerra

 © Fernando Guerra

 © Fernando Guerra

 © Fernando Guerra

 © Fernando Guerra

We are walking on timber, almost everything in timber. Structure, walkway, balustrades become one with the trunks and branches. In time they will become ever more alike and the walkway will eventually be as if it had always been there. Like a growing tree that asserts its place naturally. The bravest or most courageous can climb up or down the stairs connecting the lower level of the site with the highest point on the walkway, which allows for escape and safety.

 © Fernando Guerra

 © Fernando Guerra

We complete the walkway almost where we started it. But we return changed, after another, but different, experience in Serralves. We are in the canopy, up nearer to the sky, but still close to earth.

Location © Carlos Castanheira

Site Plan © Carlos Castanheira

Plan © Carlos Castanheira

Drawings of different parts © Carlos Castanheira

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# Landscape Design

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