BRAGA (PT) - The Liberdade Street Fashion building is a concept for a city shopping 'arcade', whose main goal is the re-activation of Braga's historical centre. Besides commercial spaces, this urban and architectural rehabilitation includes office spaces, housing and parking. The original building, which once housed the Portuguese post office company (Correios Telégrafos e Telefones, CTT), has been transformed into an inspiring project whose strategy will undoubtedly be copied.
Architect Gonçalo Byrne and the client/developer, the Regojo Group, both wanted to keep the historical image of the building while also catering to the commercial and visibility needs of the shops. As such, all stores have direct and independent access from the two adjacent streets, while the offices and dwellings are located on the upper floors and open mainly towards the inner courtyard. Byrne designed a second glass facade that creates attractive publicity opportunities for the retail tenants. This takes up the entire front of the non-residential part of the plot, and although the old stone facade speaks a totally different architectural language, the materials complement one other aesthetically.
The use of glass contributes fundamentally to the project. Its transparency allows visual contact between inside and outside spaces and generates a third usable layer – the glass itself – permitting shops to promote their brands and products. The Liberdade Street Fashion strikes an imaginative balance between historicism and radical renewal that is a perfect match with commercial ambitions, architectural desires and market values. (Carlos M Guimarães)
Conversion, Glass |