Architecture / Workshop – ConstructLab, Trienal de Arquitectura, Lisbon, 2013
CASA DO VAPOR
Cova do Vapor is a small fishermen settlement, opposite of Lisbon, at the bank side of river Tejo. Part of the settlement has been declared a protected natural reserve and it’s not allowed to build on it. This protects it from massive touristic development but also predicates the existing community to live in a state of informality. The “Associação de Moradores da Cova do Vapor” substitutes the lack of municipality presence by taking responsibility for a well-working public infrastructure and organizing activities for the community.
Inspired from the creativity of the locals, the genuine DIY ethic and to have discovered a community that still lives up to its name, Constructlab decided to self-initiate Casa do Vapor, a support structure to the local association, that can absorb various possibilities to serve local initiatives. Its various structures have accommodated an open air classroom, a public library, a kitchen, a bike-workshop, a skate-ramp, a playground and a pizza-oven.
The collective became part of the local community for four months and an exchange of ideas and exercises in collectivity took place. Casa do Vapor was built out of reused wood from the construir juntos project in Guimarães ECC 2012. The construction was simple and welcomed participation from both kids and grown-ups. Feeling sympathy with the lack of external support, which is everyday reality in the village, the locals became even more invested in this project.
Due to building restrictions, the installations could only be temporary. However, Casa do Vapor became a ‘common’ in its own right that survives. The same material is used over and over, disguising Casa do Vapor in temporary forms from time to time, like a new community kitchen cozinha das terras and a public library biblioteca do vapor and biblioteca do mare, which are ongoing.