Pedras Salgadas Park
Pedras Salgadas Park suffered the natural desertion that affected most thermal parks. Following World War II, advances in medicine and tourists’ growing appetite for the beach, park visitor numbers fell and the now empty buildings slowly disintegrated with no prospect of a solution in sight. The intervention was geared to restoring the identity underlying Pedras Salgadas Park, one that sets it apart from other parks: its markedly romantic design, typical of the peak of thermal tourism.
The casino was not the gambling venue we consider it to be today. The principal guideline behind the works carried out was to reframe its function in the context of the park, as that of a preeminent social space: it comprised the ballroom, the restaurant and a place to play bridge and canasta. Avelames Hotel, on the other hand, was an obvious casting error within the context of the park, and it was demolished almost completely. Only the ground floor was kept to house some of the park’s essential technical facilities, but even that has been sunk into the earth and is now practically invisible, and will continue to be so as the vegetation reclaims it.
The chapel, on the other hand, had been badly affected by successive works it underwent over the years. It was rebuilt, the altars were cleaned and the ceilings vaulted. It is a supplementary feature for socialisation, presenting the opportunity for a number of religious ceremonies. The “Garages” at the entrance to the park served, as the name indicated, to keep cars. The preservation of the original spelling on the façades immediately refers us to another era. This is precisely the proposal undertaken with the recuperation of the park: a voyage in time to a period of history that was profoundly marked by a style of life which we can only hope to access through media: films, photographs or books. This was a time when spa parks – and the generous nature surrounding them – were the last resort in terms of health and salubrity for the men and women of a society that was increasingly modern but lacking in means of diagnosis and therapy.
2012 - 2015
Vila Pouca de Aguiar, Portugal
Unicer Bebidas de Portugal - VMPS, Águas e Turismo
Luís Rebelo de Andrade, Maria João Barcelos
Edimarante - Sociedade de Construções
VMPS - Eng. Vasco Portal
FG + SG - Fotografia de Arquitectura
Travel & Leisure Design Awards 2014 - Best Resort
Archdaily Building of the Year 2012 - Hotels & Restaurants