In what way does having an Architectural Practice in Sardoal contribute to the development of the municipality and the region?
An Architectural Practice can be a constant and influential voice wherever debate and decision making occurs. Particularly in what it says with respect to the quality of the area, public space and the built environment.
It can, and it must, promote urban action in order to develop and to promote the thinking that results in a dialogue in places where they are present. And, if that dialogue also results in a joint vision in construction within the area, that can make us happier as well as making a necessary and extraordinary contribution.
What contribution can Architecture make to create authority in areas of low density?
I believe that Architecture can assume an active role and be a resource in the development of our regions, cities, landscapes and in areas of mainly low density, like Sardoal.
We live, today, in a Country with municipalities that can construct or destroy these areas and Architecture can be the engine of economic development for these areas.
Also having a role in construction or reconstruction, where questions like Urban Regeneration in agricultural areas and the intrusion in to the landscape are very relevant.
How has the refurbishment and conversion of Almourol Castle Tower to a Museum and the recently completed work impacted on the people who now visit it?
The refurbishment and conversion of Almourol Castle Tower to a Museum project adds value to the Tagus and its historic heritage. That is important nationally and is a strategic part of economic development in the Ribatejo region.
It plays a key part in developing tourism potential and excellently relaunching the role of the river as a pivotal strategic player and as an invigorating and identifiable element of the region. It is an intervention in a totemic setting.
How important is it for the development of Vila Nova da Barquinha and the region?
Almourol Castle is one of the most emblematic and scenic medieval military monuments from the period of the Reconquest which invokes the memory of the Knights Templar in our country.
The conversion of the Tower to a Museum invigorates the attractiveness of the region to tourists through actions that, allied to the preservation and valuation of the natural landscape, historic and human heritage, promote the visibility and experience of the Tagus. It enhances economic growth and the value of the Region.
What new dynamic has it brought to the cultural tourism of Vila Nova da Barquinha?
It attracts tourists and visitors adding value and creating more dynamics in the marginal zones of the Tagus and the surrounding area. It provides for natural, innate, cultural and economic growth which is a priority for this city.
To identify and to increase the quality of the tourist offer of the region and promote integrated development. To promote sustainable development and preserve the historic and cultural nature of the region.
What is the impact of the Abrantes Family Health Unit project on those who use it now?
It brought modern Heath Care infrastructure to the people of the city of Abrantes who had a lack of family doctors.
The Municipality of Abrantes understood that it was its duty to be part of the solution, recognised it needed to provide this investment entirely, even though health is not its responsibility.
Restoring health services in the historic centre will help revitalise and invigorate Abrantes, and without a doubt the population of the city is better provided with health care.
What new dynamic has it brought to the historic centre of Abrantes?
The option to put the USF in the heart of the city follows the strategy of attracting people to the historic centre at the same time that it creates urban regeneration and synergies between the services that are going to be placed there. It is the case with the new Daily Market and the Welcome Center and, shortly, the Citizen’s Store which will be installed in the upper floor of the Family Health Unit.
Combining private investment and public investment by the Municipality, using the enterprise dynamics that the historic centre has received and the opening of a commercial store and services, we can affirm that the historic centre has new life and a new dynamic.
What did the architectural project of refurbishment of Casal da Coelheira by MODO bring to the winery?
Casal da Coelheira is a company focused on very close contact with the customer and consumer. With growing numbers of Wine Lovers, requests for visits have increased significantly, especially since 2016.
In this context, the work done by MODO Associated Architects strengthened, in a very positive way, our brand image, reinforcing our closeness with the people and clients who visit us. The work of the MODO team of architects mirrors the philosophy that we want to communicate to our clients.
To all those who visit us here in Tramagal and at their homes, tasting a bottle of our wine: Modernity with great respect for Tradition and History. And you can find all of those principles in the MODO project designed for Casal da Coelheira.
What is the impact of this project in the region?
Considering that Tourism is a sector of rapid growth, this new Casal da Coelheira Lounge can contribute to that, especially when we talk about regional products. This work also endows the region with new infrastructure that strengthens the Tourism offer in the region.
It always respects the concept of interconnection with other agents or other branches of activity, production, hotels, restaurants. We believe that it is a good example, among others, that can inspire Architects called upon to enrich the economic, social and cultural thinking of our region.
What impact has IPT’s new DATACENTER had on those who now are using it?
The DataCenter project is of significant importance. Not only for the Municipality of Abrantes, but for the Mèdio Tejo Region as well, in an area that wants to be more competitive and generate more wealth. Is is continuing the process of installation of the IBM Center for Technology and Innovation in Tomar.
The continuity of this project and its growth led to the necessity of reinforcement of the net infrastructure and data storage for this infrastructure (DATACENTER).
And it has been done with creativity and innovation with an investment of around 1.2 million euros in the data center - using funding from the last Community support framework - it has provided new services to the academic community of IPT as well as the provision of services to all the partners of our institution.
What is also important for the development of the municipality and the region?
The DATACENTER is an investment by the Polytechnic Institute of Tomar that will allow us to work in the fields of research and technological development.
The capacity of the data center will also allow storage of data from various entities, from companies to local authorities or public services in the region, who sometimes have limited infrastructure, both to ensure the security of their data and to enhance the efficient operation of their data systems.
From a technological and human resources point of view, we are now in a position to move towards projects that support the new concept of smart cities.
What new development dynamics and partnerships can this DATACENTRE make possible?
Over the last few years, IPT has consolidated a strong partnership with Softinsa / IBM Portugal, creating new partnerships, such as COMPTA, based on the involvement of local authorities, anchored in the DATACENTRE.
This investment is intended to foster the creation of new, innovative, future projects that will in turn transform IPT’s identity, drawing on the entrepreneurial capacity of its teachers and students, opening up new opportunities for economic growth, for the creation of employment and for the growth of the region and the country.
How does the Third Age Support Home project and its work affect the lives of the people who inhabit it and use it?
This Social Care Centre has a very positive and significant impact on the lives of our citizens who reside here now, as if being with their own families.
In general, the 68 residents are very generous people, 35 of them are 88 or more years old and 15 of them are over 90, with an average age of 85.4 years. And as well as being elderly most are sick or have a dependency.
Because of the specialized care provided to them, their quality of life, like that of their families, is manifestly superior to that which they would otherwise have.
The designed and constructed space, with its huge windows and balconies, allows for intense light and proximity to the landscape and the countryside, feeding memories of many of the residents who lived and worked in these and other areas.
This building allows full integration of the residents within their natural environment. They can see and feel the murmurs and aromas of the mountains, when time is slow and light and days are made of smiles and they exchange stories about work and from the balconies and through the windows the rays of sunshine flood living spaces and illuminate the twilight of life ...
What importance does it also have for the development of the county and the region?
The quality of the project, the imaginative use of fully operational space, helps provide the healthy athmosohere that we demand from a home like this. It is a strong component of the obligation on all of us to consider that people are people, with the right to comfort and dignity until the last moment of their lives.
It is a project aimed at the entire population of the municipality of Abrantes and it guarantees quality and, in its daily practices, affirms its role as an extension of the family, a good family. This new elderly people’s home is humanised by the frequent contact that proximity allows.
It also guarantees the existence of the necessary conditions for functional normality of the families, because the necessary social responses are available to all age groups in this area.
What new dynamic has it brought to the rural and social development of Pego and how do you characterize it?
In this institution, in the service that is provided with differing social responses: Day Center, Domiciliary Support, Nursery, Kindergarten and Home in addition to the service provided, which society at large recognises as good quality, with the comfort and greater tranquility that results in support for families, more than 90 jobs were generated.
The creation of those jobs, which are mainly filled by women, who are generally long-term unemployed, are, in themselves a statement that the Pego Social Center is a socially important institution in all aspects, to who ever receives services, to those who develop them and to society in general.
From this project, from this work, directly and indirectly, there is a visible impact, both socially and economically.
As for the Home itself, from the experience and dynamic that is characteristic of each day, comes satisfaction provided by the necessary care to the residents - hygiene, health, food, animation, image and the spirit of living - it is also a challenge or maybe even a uncomfortable fact to those in this area, as well as to society in general, to recognise that these homes are necessary and are being provided for very elderly people, they are not and never can be, a place to “clear away elderly people then after ... it is whatever God wants”.
Everyone is a person and up to the last moment they have the right to dignity that is due to all human beings.
Many people speak of the desertification of the interior of the country. Here, and in this work, we face it, every day.
In what way does the Center for Innovation and Incubation and Business Development impact on the lives of the people who now use it?
Designed to be the centre of activity in the Vale do Tejo Technology Park for promotion of innovation and business development, its characteristics of overwhelming light and transparency transfers, to everyone who experiences it, a clear image of openness, to what surrounds us, and to what is to come.
What importance does it also have for the development of the county and the region?
As a result of persistent and continuous strategic vision over the past fifteen years, the old QUIMIGAL facilities, as they were known, are today a comprehensive element in the economic development of Abrantes and a regional player in support of entrepreneurship projects and transfer of scientific and technological knowledge to the most relevant regional sectors, such as agro-industry, metal mechanics, energy and information and communication technologies.
In the building, since its inauguration in October 2009, there have been about 50 incubator company start ups, close to a hundred jobs created and a cumulative turnover of around 40 million euros.
Currently, in the space in the Park, as well as business incubator projects, the IEFP professional training center was installed, a.LOGOS - Laboratory of Chemical and Microbiological Analysis for water and food, INOVLINEA, Technology Transfer Center for Food, LINE - Laboratory of Innovation for Industrial Processes, the local NERSANT Nucleus and all the practical teaching component of ESTA - Abrantes Higher School of Technology.
What new dynamic have you brought to the development of Vale do Tejo Technology Park and Abrantes Higher School of Technology, and how do you characterize them?
With the growth of the Park it is necessary to respond to its capacity to attract larger technology companies and, above all, to create conditions for consolidating the presence of the Polytechnic Institute of Tomar through its School of Technology at Abrantes.
This step is essential and is only possible if you create the conditions for a quality teaching activity with adequate facilities and a strong applied component and response to business needs. Such requirements are only possible with the definitive installation of ESTA in the Vale do Tejo Technology Park and this is why we are committed to working there.