Atelier Rua screens Portuguese campsite facilities with white slatted facade

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A screen of vertical white louvres meanders around these facilities for campers in central Portugal, designed by Lisbon studio Atelier Rua (+ slideshow).

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by FG+SG

The campsite is situated on the other side of the river Tejo, also known as the Tagus, from the city of Abrantes.

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by FG+SG

Its previous facilities were housed in a string of separate buildings between a residential area to the south and the riverside to the north.

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by FG+SG

Atelier Rua's scheme links these existing buildings with a long unifying structure. This creates new covered spaces in the gaps and a connecting gallery that brings the total area to 6,950 square metres.

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by FG+SG

"The idea of this building was to embrace the back-sides of the preexisting buildings, defining a new edge for the small town where it stands," studio co-founder Luis Valente told Dezeen. "In a sense its 'liquid' shape occupies the left-over spaces in between the preexisting buildings."

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by FG+SG

"Its structure, open and permeable, allows a direct and constant relationship with the green surroundings throughout the whole extension of the building," he added.

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by Miguel Manso

The north facade is made from an open screen of vertical fibreglass-capped steel louvres, and snakes along to wrap both the old and new spaces.



The building is raised slightly off the ground, so is accessed via earth ramps and concrete steps that lead to large openings in the slats.

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by Miguel Manso

Fixed onto the outside of facia boards running around the base and top, the louvres are spaced at regular intervals along the length of the facade, splaying around curved corners.

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by Miguel Manso

"They form a veil or a screen that frames the river landscape to the north," said Valente.

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by Miguel Manso

The pitched roofs of the older buildings poke up above the single-storey addition. These house a reception area at the western end and a pair of communal spaces for relaxing, play or events in the middle.

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by Miguel Manso

In front of these rooms is a new cafeteria equipped with basic kitchen amenities, and seating for diners that spills out onto the unpaved space in front.

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by FG+SG

Bathrooms, showers and changing rooms are located further along, forming blocks that shelter long concrete counters punctured by a row of sinks.

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by FG+SG

More wash basins run along the slatted facade in front of the male showers, while the female bathing area is tucked away at the far easterly end of the building.

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by FG+SG

The changing areas also serve a public sports pitch on the site, and sheltered bike storage for visitors is provided.

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by FG+SG

Throughout the building, services running along the metal ceiling are left exposed. Internal walls are painted white or left as rough concrete to match the floor.

Abrantes Camping by Atelier Rua
Photograph by FG+SG

For other campsites, Snøhetta revived an old Norwegian boathouse to create a dormitory for children and Kevin Hirth has proposed a cloud-like viewing platform that floats among the trees in Colorado.


Project credits:

Architect: Atelier Rua
Structures: Pedro Viegas
Technical Team: Luis Silvestre e Ecoperfil