The Civic Centre in Custóias (Matosinhos) is built in Souto Square, a triangular space with bad construction, a central garden and imposing trees. The garden has been suffering through the years, as almost every old garden in Matosinhos has, constant and successive interventions and mutilations. It was even built a small building in it, the local public library. The Civic Centre was built to, amongst other things, replace this poor building. The library finally moved to the new building but the old one still remains between the trees in the garden.
The Civic Centre is located on the plot, after lots of failed experimentation, only on the compliment of municipal plans and regulations, wich are, in panic situations, a relief...
With a square plan, the side dimensions is the maximum depth allowed by the City Hall in urban construction, 17.6m. The height and alignement of the Civic Centre with the existing buildings is also dictated by the same plans and regulations wich establish a moving back from the actual building front to widen the road section in a long term basis.
The Civic Centre of Custóias concentrates two valences in the same building. Cultural and Social. It intends, through a multimedia zone in the first floor and a leisure zone in the ground floor, to foment contact between generations.
The Project went after formal abstraction. It tried to insert in the chaotic city mesh an exception object, one that could, through it’s plasticity, produce a big contrast with the surroundings. The compact volume, almost a perfect cube, allowed articulation ‘games’ between elements that defined the building plastic composition without loosing it’s unicity.