Ocean & Coastline Observatory*

5th Battery - Trafaria, Portugal

Architecture for Humanity

Ocean & Coastline Observatory

Joãomagala; João Segurado;  Manuel Espada; José Pereira; Mauro Jerónimo; Filipe Freitas; Luís Sezões


La Biennale di Venezia 08.2012, Pallazo Bembo, #13

"Young points to Grand Prize winner Ocean & Coastline Observatory as an eco-friendly poster child that encapsulates the design competition’s swords-to-plowshares mission. "...This was once a fort in Portugal designed to defend the country’s coastlin​e," 
he says. 

"The proposal is also a defense of the coastline, but it’s an environmental defense." 

T. Luke Young,  in wired.com

OCO should be a place to supervise the sustainable preservation of the coast, and near sea-zone, a place were different communities of the population could meet and share their concerns, plans and ambitions for the coastline.

In order to the Trafarias’s 5th batteries host the Ocean and Coastline Observatory, it was developed two main levels of intentions.

First, at an urban scale, defining and understanding how it can be fisicaly accessible.

Second, an architectural approach seeking to adapt the existing for it’s new use.

- architectonic upgrade -

More than recovering the existing buildings, to convert military spaces to a civil use, it became essential to adapt the existing and build a new architectonic upgrade.

Adapting meant that some military elements could be converted, the cannon bases could become amphitheatres, bases for observation and measuring equipment, etc.

The new architectonic upgrade takes form as a new “body” that connects the flanks to each other, allow more internal fluxes at different levels on the existing building, and create a new cultural space open to the community. 

- bioclimatic strategies -

Being a place inserted in a protected area and meant for science, it would be even more logic that the building integrate some sustainable and bioclimatic principles.

The buiding’s green roofs work already as an efficient architectonic element, protecting it from sun, and providing fresh interiors. 


It is proposed  tree different systems, water and sewage, energy, and a organic waste management:

Water & sewage  management contemplates a rainwater harvesting system for watering gardens and cleaning; a bio tank for grey water treatment.

Energy management aims to make the building to be compleatly independent and auto sufficient, producing energy with photovoltaic panels and biomass from the forests and gardens around.