Gas Station, Castelo de Maia Portugal, 2013
An Urban Patchwork offers a critique of the typical road stop typology and its relationship with the city. The typology of a road stop is typically a hybrid of gas station, garage, carwash, café, and minimart. A road stop is often a mere pit stop along highways or motorways where travelers refuel their car and bodies with gasoline and coffee. One can say that a road stop is placeless – they are all the same regardless of their location. They are often located in the middle of nowhere, and when they are located in a city, they appear disconnected from any surrounding context.
How do you give a road stop an identity? How do you create a road stop that is connected with the surrounding? Can a road stop contribute to its surrounding community? How do you make a road stop into a road place?
An Urban Patchwork is located in an industrial ruin in Castelo de Maia, along the N14 National Road that connects Porto and Braga. The site is bordered by the N14 National Road and train tracks, and is at an intersection between the University, athletic center and metro stop. Utilizing these different conditions, the project aims to aims to engage with the surrounding context and become a place not just for road travelers, but also a destination for the local community. An Urban Patchwork is a hub that mixes an array of different programs such as gas station, cafés, bars, artist workshops, disco, retail plant nursery, reading room, etc. Furthermore, the existing buildings have unique spatial potentials; therefore they are renovated and restored, along with some additional new roofs. The result is a unified project that provides very different spatial qualities and environments that cater a wide range of users and program, as well as preserving and celebrating the industrial identity of the site.