Municipal Theatre of Almada - Blue Theatre

"[ ... ] the city was difficult to symbolize, [ … ] it had no distinct areas. A lady thought that this is one of the most painful things about Jersey City. If someone came here from far away, there is nothing about which one can say: Oh! You must see that, it’s so beautiful!"
(Kevin Lynch. 1960. The image of the city)
Being surrounded by some careless buildings, resulting from the slightly casuistic "urban explosion" of the 1960’s, an anonymous place waiting for some occurrence that might articulate the senses, instituting a point of departure towards an apprehensible and nameable organisation.
As the more qualified attribute, a line of trees bordering the limit of a Secondary School, to the east (in this section, a merely a footpath, ramped according to the ground inclination).
They were banal trees that in their accidental arrangement, by the also banal railings of the school, emerged as one of the few possibilities for constituting a site when the other side of the ramp would be later defined. On that side we opened non-phased terraces (for the cafeteria and the music cafe, situated above), the trees and their perfume participating, from there, in a curious and more demanding part, in the middle of which was a rarefied vacant lot of the still new town.
The design accompanies the natural slope of the land for the layout of the main hall, with the inevitably massive stage box rising up on the lowest part in order to reduce its impact, bringing it closer, simultaneously, to an already existing impasse that would then function as an access for loading and unloading.

The main entrance is from Rua Prof. Egas Moniz in which the "head" of the building rises up that following the alignments of the street closes the top of the lot with a volume identical to that of the surrounding buildings, in an attitude of recommended approximation.
A square volume, in which the experimental theatre superimposes the rehearsal theatre (repeating the dimension of the main stage) occupies a corner of the complex, freeing patios of light in the rotation of the geometries.
A small narrow lane surrounds the Theatre, to the west, in keeping with the neighbouring cadastral maps and making possible a new access.

To this "varied" programme we added, throughout, a characterisation in form of the different parts, whilst building a desirable volume. The light blue glazed ceramic cladding obsessively "wraps" the whole complex in such a way as to "tighten", through colour, brilliance and texture, the dispersed and different moments that an organism with this complexity generates and encloses.
The unity thus found gave birth, almost naturally, to the designation Blue Theatre that we feel conveys the power referred to by Kevin Lynch:
"Even the donation of a name has a certain power, so long as it is a known and accepted name. […] if we wish to make our environment meaningful, we need such a coincidence of association and ability to imagine" (Ibid.)