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Shaping the T.L.O


Introduction. As the project develops and I start to get into more detail the phase of the design arrives. How can we design a bridge that “merges” with the surroundings? What elements should influence this new building and how can we make the locals identify this new development as something that they are proud of? The Paths. The TLO project is conceived as an integral project, and not just as a land art in the Al-Ex frontier. The project is therefore not one single element but a series of elements that appear along this symbolic area, creating spaces for gathering and investigation. The TLO uses the existing paths as promenade elements looking for the circled promenade on this area. The bridge appears as the missing element that connect both sides of the river and what would be the path if the Guadiana river didn’t existed. Therefore the project connects two paths that were isolated due to the river flux and creating a uniform single path around this area and closing the promenade of the TLO. “The bridge looks for continuity”.

Formally the bridge beyond connecting two sides, two separated paths and creating one single path it creates a large radius curvature. This initial shape is inspired in two elements that belong to the surroundings, the “Cañaverales” and the “Aduz”.

The Cañaverales. The building creates a large radius curve inspired in these local elements when they are shacked by the winds. We can find along the Guadiana River very often these elements that grow on the sides of the river.


The Azud on the Ajuda area. An azud or weir is a “rudimentary” dam built with local materials that regulates the flux of water of a river. The idea is that although is a dam, it should always be overflowed, reducing the flux of water but never creating an ecological break on the area. In the Guadiana River several differen “azudes” existed. Many of them where built on the XVII century although we can find some of them that even belong to the Romans. In the area of Ajuda, very nearby the placement of the TLO. When speaking with the some local friends that I have they reminded that not so long ago this “azud” was still under use. But on 2002 the Alqueva dam started to work reaching the proposed water level on 2008. This proposed water level covered the old Aldeia da Luz, but beyond that it changed the hydrological cycle of the Guadiana River. Suddenly the Azudes were no longer useful and many of them were covered by the rising water level. This was what happened with the azud of Ajuda. The locals that had seen along all their life this singular element suddenly they stop seeing it. Inspired by this “historical” and “physical” lost on the landscape, the TLO tries to cover it. That is also why the TLO shapes a curve, creating the new Azud for the area of Ajuda and covering this lack that had been there for many years. The TLO shapes as the original Azud and also it will create through means of visual elements the “sensation” that the Azud exists. This aims to make the locals feel identified with the project and to help covering one maybe not physical need but more a “historical – memorial need”.


Shaping the TLO