050        GAIA MUSEUM AMBIENTE       PT        2020

The project reflects on the concept of sustainability and on the unique characteristics of the place. And, if we think that Gaia is Mother Earth in Greek mythology, the place chosen for the design of the new environmental museum is, from the outset, both logical and symbolic.
We understand true sustainability as a balance of forces between full and empty that when in the right proportion, allow a total harmony of the elements. The true Yin and Yang, two opposing and complementary fundamental forces: yin as the principle of passivity and absorption: the natural emptiness; yang as the principle of activity: the constructed. With this assumption as a basis, our proposal recognizes both the importance of the built and the empty space, even more so that, in this specific case, the empty space will be equivalent to public space that will belong to the city, giving Vila Nova de Gaia, in addition to a new Museum, a new Park and a new Reference Square. We consider it essential to create equipment that goes beyond its function and that brings a new experience to the city.
We opted for the creation of a City Park in the upper part of the land that extends continuously on the roof of the museum. This green area is the counterpoint of the square, an urban reference element, and the connection between these two areas is made by the museum building. The auditorium appears as the end of this building, establishing the limit of the square and creating an urban front, due to its scale and dimension. The proposal arises from the desire to work on the relationship between the full and the empty, the natural and the urban, taking a single mass as the beginning, excavating the built spaces and the voids, respecting and integrating pre-existence as a fundamental part of the project.
Another crucial theme of our approach is the use of passive solutions with no environmental impact, which do not quickly become obsolete due to constant technological evolution. We were interested in investigating and adapting old ventilation and natural cooling systems such as wind collectors. These systems work as a support to mechanical ventilation, allowing the reduction of the amount of energy used in the ventilation of spaces, which consequently corresponds to a reduction in costs, both energy and maintenance. In the specific context of our proposal, these elements, in addition to ventilating the spaces, bring natural light to the interior of the museum, reflecting, through a system of mirrors, the roof garden. In this way, the vegetation enters the interior of the museum, reminding us of the importance of nature as the origin of everything.