The Douro is the heart of Porto, it´s historical source of life. The aim of this competition, redesigning the north front, is legitimate but might not touch the essence of the city’s real issues. Filling the urban gaps or raising the number of parking places could be a method, but is certainly not the solution. A pragmatic intervention, but probably not enough to preserve and raise the already special urban quality of Ribeira.
Porto needs an intervention which makes the river into a bounding entity and a more active participant in the circulation and experience of the city, which establishes a new relation with the Douro valley, it´s beautiful central space. Due to poor connectivity between the two sides of the river, the use of both sides is out of balance. Some areas on the north bank deal with too much pressure, while at the same time the south bank is underdeveloped. This is where we see a great opportunity to change the economical configuration of
Porto, by resolving the accessibility of both banks. Porto Ponte Russa proposes to re-link the south by improving the circulation around the river through a ´passeio´. This new loop, completed with a new public transportation and pedestrian bridge, can be at once attraction, leisure and connection. It opens all existing barriers, the city will be released of traffic problems and of difficulties crossing the river as a pedestrian. The bridge will connect the character and qualities of the valley like Ribeira, the Don Luis bridge, the south bank boulevard with the Port wine cellars and a new projected Park.
The iconographic value of the bridge triggers first development and later on it improves the character of Porto. First and foremost its position on the western side prevents the ´dead end´feeling of the present situation and it loops the south bank boulevard back to the city center. Secondary it relieves the Don Luis bridge from its overload of traffic, too much traffic lead to congestion and even danger for pedestrians to cross. Now this bridge can become part of a beautiful promenade around the river. As almost logical, the genius loci of the sloping valley leads to a complete new typology. We combine a horizontal with a vertical elevator to guarantee a quick solution for crossing the river and for walking uphill. Construction of the bridge and park will set of a whole range of new initiatives that cannot be overseen at the moment. New developments will automatically start because of the new won ground value and recognisable situation. Strategic investments by the city will generate sufficient finance for all Porto Vivo operations.
In collaboration with :
Aldo Trim - PlaneSight Architecture