The Basis for the Reconversion of Outdoor Expectant Spaces in the Malagueira Neighborhood

Author: Francisco B. Brito


The communication proposal to be presented reflects the initial phase of a doctoral thesis about the reconversion of the expectant and public spaces in the Malagueira neighbourhood in Évora, designed by architect Álvaro Siza Vieira.

The urban public space is our meeting, mobility and sharing space, which is an integral part of our way of living and interpreting the city. The parameters that define the public space and the classification that comes from its qualification are nuclear factors to define our relationship with the city.

The thesis will focus on “Cities and Sustainable Communities” (2030 Agenda (UN)), addressing subjects like sustainability and inclusion, concentrating the production of knowledge around the public space of the Malagueira, in Évora, but widening the coverage to other works By Siza that will help us achieve a full understanding of his public space specificities and qualities.

Álvaro Siza research in design and his work is overly known and appreciated nationally and internationally, but we intend to focus on his work outside the buildings, within the frame of public space. We are interested in understanding how the architect worked with urban elements and how they were used to enhance urban quality.

The intention of classifying this area of Évora as a National Monument reinforces the relevance of the discussion about the “patrimonialization” of Malagueira, which remains an unfinished project. The initial plan included a large set of equipment that currently are seen and felt as expectant spaces. We are interested in analysing the relevance of the initial designs by Álvaro Siza and exploit the (re)interpretation of these expectant spaces, by using Design Driven Research. The social and economic characteristics of the population currently in Malagueira are distinct from those at the initial plan, which give relevance to a critical analysis, about the current state of the neighbourhood, after 45 years from the beginning of its construction. We foresee that the field of experimentation can be expanded to other areas of the public space in response to this critical analysis performed in the first phase of the work.

The knowledge produced will be a contribution to the development of Malagueira and will constitute a reflection on the sustainable and inclusive public space, which may be applied to other zones with similar characteristics.

In this communication we intend to discuss the foundations and the path pointed to the future of the investigation.

Keywords: Malagueira, neighbourhood, Siza Vieira, public space, heritage