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ANGRA DO HEROÍSMO Site Plan 1 : 15 000

COMUN-IDADE Site Plan 1 : 1000

The COMUN-IDADE project is an attempt to design a creative solution to three contemporary problems in the Azores. First, the elderly population of the archipelago of the Azores has grown, following the national tendency, thanks to the increase in average life span. This growing population has needs and limitations - decreased mobility, the loss of community, increased reliance on care infrastructure - to which architectural interventions must begin to respond. Second, this rapidly aging population presents a problem of history. The Azores have experienced drastic cultural shifts within living memory, and without a means for collecting, preserving, and presenting cultural, personal, culinary and artisanal histories, they may be lost over time. This poses a unique opportunity for novel programmatic considerations. Finally, the adaptive reuse of historic buildings is of a particular interest both from a cultural standpoint and a environmental standpoint. In the Azores, vernacular and traditional buildings have a clear place in our built heritage. However, there is a class of industrial buildings, often abandoned, which are often overlooked despite frequently unique and delightful design elements. The COMUN-IDADE project is interested in providing a future for these unique elements of the Azorean built environment. COMUN-IDADE proposes an architectural solution to these three issues: 1 - a complex that allows for the elderly to age in place at all stages of aging; 2 - that activates, archives and celebrates living history; 3 - and that enables the continued use of a remarkable piece of industrial architecture. The site for the COMUN-IDADE project is an abandoned milk factory west of Angra do Heroísmo, on the island of Terceira. The factory, originally built in 1970, is in poor condition superficially but remains structurally sound, with a number of features that make it worth preservation. The site itself slopes from the highway down to the sea. The proposal itself takes three parts. - The conversion of the milk factory into an elderly-focused community center and “living archive”; - the rear landscape of the site is converted into a neighbourhood of smaller homes, suitable for downsizing without losing a community; - and a new block built in front of the existing building, for aging residents with accessibility or caretaking needs.

COMUN-IDADE COMPLEX Section 1 : 1000

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STORYTELLING & RECORDING - 5TH FLOOR Space to talk with the elderly and record stories of the past


The milk factory, built in the 1970s, has sat abandoned for several years now. Nonetheless, several notable architectural features remain: the curving roof, the wide skylights, the circular void in the tower, the top floor granting spectacular views. The COMUN-IDADE community centre provides spaces for cultural activities, amenities for residents, and an archive and museum intended to highlight and preserve the living cultural practices of the people of the region. The first floor contains communal areas for communal dining and other cultural activities, offices for management, and rooms for weekly services, like doctors, therapists, and barbers. These spaces take advantage of the incredible lighting throughout the first floor by maintaining as much open space as possible. Washrooms and storage within this area are freestanding boxes within the larger space, dividing the open space.

THIRD AGE LEARNING - 3RD FLOOR Classroom and computer room for the residents of the complex

The multi-level volume contains the museum and archive programme entirely within its footprint. Included in this footprint are a kitchen, a library, a physical archive space, multiple performance venues, and an interview space with views of the sea.

REMEMBERING & LEARNING - 2ND FLOOR Library and reading room to consult stories of the past, traditional recipes and adventures of times past...

ARCHIVE - 1ST FLOOR Archive of large objects COOKING & SHARING - 1ST FLOOR Kitchen for the confection of the daily meals and for traditional cooking lessons

MILK FACTORY Picture 2016

CIRCULAR VOID Picture 2016

GATHERING & PRESENTING New stairs and old voids


SKYLIGHTS Picture 2016

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REMEMBERING & LEARNING Library and reading room

STORYTELLING & RECORDING View from the 5th floor

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The assisted living residence of the COMUN-IDADE project is built as an extension to the milk factory, taking cues from the original building’s massing, and the familiar appearances of traditional Azorean buildings but creating its own character, with bright and vivid interior spaces featuring strong connections to nature and the outdoors. As the building is intended to house residents who may have mobility issues, care is taken to draw light and natural elements into the envelope. Readily accessible nature has been associated with improved health and improved mood, making it an essential part of the scheme. The building contains a number of small apartments along with necessary amenities. Voids cut into the façade of the building break up the façade, bring light deeper into the floor plate, and providing small pocket gardens as backdrops to the smaller interior spaces. Each individual apartment window contains a windowsill garden, giving the inhabitants a small garden to take care of and nurture. From the exterior, the building is teeming with greenery.


CONTEMPLATING & REFLECTING Assisted living residence chapel

GROWING & SHARING Houses and gardens


The age-in-place neighborhood in the COMUN-IDADE project is a development intended to allow the elderly who still maintain mobility and independence. Creating a community of houses of people with similar needs allows the residents to avoid isolation. Ensuring continued contact with others will help to keep them active and contribute to higher quality of life. The neighborhood consists of a series of individual houses, set in rows that gently cascade down the site. A central corridor provides an axis through which the neighborhood can be navigated, and the sidewalks leading to the front entrances of each house face the gardens of the homes beyond, creating a thoroughly social series of outdoor spaces. The homes themselves adopt a staggered footprint, to differentiate the façade, adding some privacy to the front entrances and rear terraces. The staggered roofline is intended to evoke a familiar, vernacular urban form and allow for a view onto the sea.


LIVING AND COOKING Kitchen, BBQ and the sea

COMUN-IDADE Project - 6th Edition Labjovem 2018  

COMUN-IDADE proposes: 1 - a complex that allows for the elderly to age in place at all stages of aging; 2 - that activates, archives and cel...

COMUN-IDADE Project - 6th Edition Labjovem 2018  

COMUN-IDADE proposes: 1 - a complex that allows for the elderly to age in place at all stages of aging; 2 - that activates, archives and cel...