The Alto Tâmega Tourism Info Point, open since September 2020, is the result of a public competition organized by the Intermunicipal Community of Alto Tâmega (CIMAT), whose objective was to create a tourist information point representing each of the six municipalities that make it up (Boticas, Chaves, Montalegre, Ribeira de Pena, Valpaços and Vila Pouca de Aguiar).
Located in the Tabolado garden, in Chaves, the building with approximately 100 square meters, with a circular plan, is built using a structural base of wooden pillars and beams on a concrete slab and is completely clad in wooden slats. The circular wooden building relates to its natural context, bringing the image that this region represents to its central concept.
The simplicity of the program is reflected in the shape of the building, resulting in a clarity of functions and a clear reading of the tourist content. The circular plan is designed as a natural consequence, responding to both practical questions (the path of visitors and the display of information) and formal questions, a building that relates to both the urban and natural landscape of its environment. The spaces are organized along a main axis that begins with a covered outdoor space, the first contact with the program.
Upon entering, the program opens into a single open plan room, capable of accommodating many visitors at once. The technical areas and bathrooms are hidden in the thickness of the walls. The visit ends with an open view of a symbolic reflecting pool evoking the Tâmega River that identifies this region and the fact that Chaves is one of the most important spa areas in Portugal.
The technical and construction choices aim to respond to the rigorous principles of sustainability and durability: the solar orientation of the main room, the position and protection of the windows, the wooden window frames with double glazing, the solar panels, the zinc, the reuse of water, the use of high levels of insulation and the preferential use of wood both as a structure and as a facade. All this makes this building a point of reference in terms of sustainability. The choice of wood as the main material throughout the building reflects the values and symbols of a region where nature is the main attraction.
Project name: Alto Tâmega Tourism Info Point
Architecture Office: AND-RÉ Architecture
Main Architect: Bruno Andre
Location: Chaves, Portugal
Year of conclusion: 2020
total area: 100m2
Architectural photographer: Ivo Tavares Studio