The Marés Pools by Álvaro Siza



With the beginning of summer, and in these days in which the 90th anniversary of the birth of the Portuguese Pritzker laureate Álvaro Siza is commemorated, it is a good moment to talk about one of his most representative projects. Located in Leça da Palmeira (Matosinhos), to the north of the city of Porto but very close to it, they were built between 1961 and 1966, thus being a project belonging to Siza’s early days as an architect.

They are located on a rocky area on a coast, the Atlantic, where the waters are rough. As a result of the non-existence of a topographical study, Siza repeatedly visited the place to get to know it better. Upon becoming familiar with it, he understood that he could generate pools without altering the landscape. He created some concrete walls that open towards the sea and merge with the rocks, being so integrated that it is difficult to distinguish where the pools end and where the ocean begins.

The enclosure where the changing rooms and bathrooms are located is also interesting, projected in concrete and wood and with a height that gives it perfect proportions, preventing it from standing out above any other element in the area. Later, a cafeteria would be added, which is the one that closes the complex.


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