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New Coach Museum – Architecture of Excellence in Lisbon

14 April 2011 No Comment

This 12.75 million euros contract is the responsibility of the consortium formed by Mota-Engil Engenharia, leader and in charge of the foundations and reinforced concrete structure, and by Martifer Construções, in charge of the metallic structure. This is the very end of this contract phase. The New Coach Museum, in Belém, Lisbon, is now emerging and should be an architectural landmark for the Portuguese capital, according to the wish of the client: Sociedade Frente Tejo. People who drive there or wait at the train station cannot remain indifferent to a main building settled on 4.5 m high pillars: one of the uncommon aspects of this task. “The concept of the architecture designer was really to have a museum almost completely suspended. Part of the ground floor  will be open to the public as an extension of the adjacent squares and public spaces. That gives rise to large spaces and structures that appear to be heavy, but are actually lightweight”, said Bernardo Salavessa, Project Manager. There is a second building, smaller but including a floor for the Museum administration and a restaurant, also raised, and an auditorium at the ground floor with a reflecting pool. Both structures will be connected by a bridge made of glass that will provide a privileged view of the rich heritage of the site, surrounded by Jerónimos, Belém Palace, Cultural Centre of Belém and the river Tagus.  Both buildings reach the river through an elevated passage for pedestrians and bicycles (to be built in the future), but there was the need to overcome some difficulties for this purpose. “The link between the reinforced concrete and the metallic structures were the main setbacks, as well as some overlaps. The metallic structure represents a large weight on this contract and there was a need of assembling most of the elements at the work site. Large parts were also raised by a 700 ton crane, so important means have been involved in this construction”, said Bernardo Salavessa. When we visited the work, the concreting operation of the floor slab of the Museum had already begun, according to the wish of the designer who intended to have a continuous concreting with no joints. “Work began at 4 a.m. and continued throughout the day because it’s a continuous process. The slab that is now being made in concrete will be the final finishing of the Museum floor. Despite being a foundations and structure project, several tasks of final finishing are here included – a lot of concrete in sight, the slab is over! We can already see the final aspect of the building in some areas”, said Salavessa, adding that Mota-Engil Engenharia is well placed for guaranteeing the Finishing phase. Meanwhile, at the work front-line stands Eduardo Monteiro, Head Foreman for 25 years at Mota-Engil. Eduardo Monteiro has experience and skills in managing employees having different nationalities and personalities and says that “work is going on with a natural adaptation of the people while achieving the best attitude to deal with each worker. In daily situations, there is sometimes the need to improvise at the site and everything has been solved by now”. As this work is structurally complex, due to its volume and to the storage space and materials handling, the Foreman also says that “we have to make efforts to ensure that the process occurs in the best possible way and that work proceeds without problems”.
We are waiting to start the finishing phase!