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New European Bauhaus Prizes 2024

Reconnecting with nature

Hydroscape Lisbon
Hydroscape Lisbon: Greening Lisbon’s harbour and celebrating urban water and its processes.
Lisbon is characterised by the river Tagus, watercourses and its topography. The project, consists of the design of an urban park and a water treatment center opening the harbour to the public, celebrating urban water resources and bringing attention to important issues of urban living and sustainability. How can water, act as a future tool for climate change, a binder and public space for Lisbon? The aim is to reformulate the relationship with water in a territorial as well as human scale.
EU Member State, Western Balkans or Ukraine
Lisbon, Portugal
Mainly urban
It refers to a physical transformation of the built environment (hard investment)
Early concept
As an individual

Lisbon is characterized by the river Tagus, its extraordinary landscape, watercourses and underground water flows. Its coastline has been shaped and re-shaped over the years. Currently, the relationship of the city with the river, is separated by the Cascais trainline, forming a barrier. The project opens the harbour to the public and celebrates the water resources of the city while bringing attention to important issues of urban living and sustainability in accordance with existing natural elements. How can the city, nature and infrastructure merge and overlap?
The proposal reconstructs Lisbon's landscape with a 14km urban park along its coastline and integrates a water treatment center and bath house. Situated at the bottom of one of the valleys - where underground water flow meets the river – the architectural design explores the local water phenomena conceiving them as a natural machine of flows. One part focuses on the water system and the other one on the urban face of Lisbon. Following a collect - treat - enjoy approach, water from the valley is collected, treated through mechanical and wetlands treatment and used by the public bath house and the irrigation system for the park. The proposal is an exploration of how such infrastructure can be incorporated into Lisbon’s dense urban fabric while creating a new public green space reclaiming the harbour and river Tagus.
How can the most evident limit, the water, can act as a future tool for climate change, a binder, a natural link and public space for Lisbon? The aim is to change and reformulate the local urban relationship with water in a territorial as well as human scale.
Urban regeneration
Urban park
Water management
Public architecture
Bath house
As the world’s population grows, we are accelerating the consumption of limited resources. Currently, half of the global population is living in cities with a projected 60% increase Global warming, increasing heat waves and flash flooding ask Lisbon to adapt to new climatic conditions. Water and water management’s importance will only grow in significance, particularly in coastal cities such as Lisbon. The project promotes how cities can achieve resilience through nature and the use of the existing water sources.
The urban park serves as a green space for the community and the environment. It forms a natural ecosystem, as a green corridor, promoting biodiversity, mitigating the urban heat island effect and adding to the mosaic effect of the city. Thoughtful landscaping contributes to stormwater management, soil absorption and help mitigate flooding risks. The urban park also promotes, sustainable mobility, a cycling network, public transport, and attractive walkable spaces.
In addressing water management challenges, the project emphasizes a dual approach to water treatment: incorporating both natural (wetlands) and mechanical processing systems. The proposal follows a collect - treat - enjoy principle. The project proposes a water treatment center, that treats water runoff from the valley and sewage, firstly through mechanical processes and secondly through constructed wetlands that also form the landscape. The clean water is then used in the public bath house and swimming pools, as well as irrigation for the public park along the harbour. Produced energy from the processes is used for the treatment plant and for heating the bath house. The treatment processes are made aware to the public. Also, there is a use of local and natural materials such as stone, wood, rammed earth and terracotta tiles.
The project exemplifies the seamless coexistence of nature and technology, providing a holistic and sustainable model for urban development.
The architectural project weaves together nature and green spaces, water infrastructure and public spaces, bringing people closer to their harbour and their river. The thoughtful mixing of architecture and landscaping not only contributes to the visual charm of the area but also enriches the experience of the users, providing a natural landscape within the urban setting. Through public architectures, seating arrangements, pathways, or recreational areas, the design is centered around the people, ensuring a positive and enriching experience for all. The bathhouse, serving as a focal point, provides recreational and wellness value, offering residents and visitors an urban retreat in the heart of Lisbon. It brings people closer to water, allowing them to experience it and celebrate it.

Another key objective is to achieve aesthetic harmony with nature. The design prioritises a seamless blend between built structures and the natural landscape. The new urban park gives a lively and vibrant social place, characterised by multiple public architectures and collective gathering moments. The different architectures and natures provide an experiential landscape reconnecting man with nature. By reclaiming the river, the city revitalises its connection with water, creating a new public space for Lisbon, open to all, that fosters a closer relationship between citizens, nature and water.
Accessibility, affordability, and inclusivity ensure that the space serves the entire community. The design ensures that individuals of all abilities can navigate and enjoy the park and water facilities. Affordability is a core principle, with all activities being open and accessible to public. Inclusivity extends beyond physical access, incorporating a diverse program for various needs and interests of the community. The project promotes a welcoming, equal and enjoyable place open to all.
The public enjoys the water and reclain a space that has been closed for industrial use for so long.
The project initiation involved an on-site visit to understand the local context, engaging in communication with residents, local communities, universities, and Lisbon's urban planning and landscaping experts.
Local residents have been engaged through participatory sessions and interviews during analysis of the site and the city. These sessions involved collaborative discussions and idea-sharing to gather different perspectives on the city of Lisbon. The participants voiced their opinions, concerns, and suggestions and actively shaped the project's direction. Locals emphasized the presence of a significant barrier between the city and the river during discussions. When the project was presented, locals were actively involved in providing feedback.
This ensured that the final outcome is a result of collaborative efforts, taking into account the unique perspectives and needs of the community.
The design and implementation of the project involved the active engagement of diverse stakeholders at multiple levels, ensuring a comprehensive and contextually relevant development approach. Local residents, communities, and businesses played a crucial role through participatory discussions, and site visits. Their insights informed the project's design, addressing local needs and concerns, particularly regarding the perceived barrier between the city and the river.
Discussions on infrastructure, transportation, and environmental considerations enhanced the project's sustainability agenda.
Collaboration with the universities: The Academia of Architecture of Mendrisio and Glasgow School of Art brought professional expertise and different approaches. Architect Carrilho da Graca, a distinguished architect from Lisbon, provided invaluable guidance as a tutor during the design phase.
This inclusive and multidimensional engagement approach helped in developing a complete project that answers not only to the needs of the urban fabric and architecture of Lisbon but also gives back to the locals.
The project combines landscape architecture, architecture, urban planning, and water treatment. Combing all these different fields that are also interconnected gives a complete outcome and great value to the process of design and learning.
Meetings among representatives from these fields ensured that each aspect complemented the others, resulting in a cohesive and well-integrated design. This collaboration combined aesthetic, functional, environmental and urban aspects.
The landscape architecture, informed the design of the green spaces and reshaped lisbon’s harbour. The architectural design ensured seamless intergration of architecture within the landscape and human experience. The urban planning addressed the broader cityscape integration and ensuring the project aligned with urban development goals. Research in water treatment contributed a specialised understanding of sustainable water management within the project.
My tutors, architect Carrilho da Graca and Thomas Woodcock, as well as some feedback from landscape architect Joao Gomes contributed to receiving the right feedback and expertise on the project.
The project promoes interdisciplinary collaboration, bringing together landscape architecture, public architecture, urban planning, and water treatment. This integration ensures a holistic solution, deviating from conventional, siloed practices in urban development. Its radical proposal involves the creation of a 14km park along the harbor, seamlessly blending industrial elements, water treatment facilities, and public spaces into the urban fabric.
A standout feature is the integration of water treatment as a fundamental element of the design. This addresses the crucial need for sustainable water management in urban settings, setting the project apart from mainstream approaches that often neglect comprehensive water solutions.
The project innovatively combines industrial and natural landscapes, showcasing a harmonious coexistence.
Furthermore, the project addresses resilience to climate change, setting a precedent for prioritizing adaptive strategies in urban development. Sustainability is enhanced through the use of natural and local materials, aligning the project with its surrounding environment and promoting responsible resource utilization.

In essence, the project represents a unique fusion of industrial and natural landscapes, redefining urban spaces through a holistic and innovative perspective.
The project methodology was an 9 month process. It began with site analysis and research, as well as a site visit of Lisbon. Interviews of locals talks with local architects gave a better understanding of the context. Then site analysis and further research started informing ideas for the concept. This informed initial proposals with weekly iterations. The feedback from architecture tutors was vital for questioning and reshaping the design.
After the conception and design of the urban park, further research and site analysis targeted a specific site within the proposed 14km park. This research led to the conception of the water treatment center and public bath house. Furrther research on water processes and bath houses then led to further iterations of the design until the final proposal.
Overall, the methodology included research, site analysis, and a multidisciplinary approach to create a holistic and innovative project.
The cities of the future will have to deal with a series of challenges. Climate change, rapid population growth, industrialisation, water pollution, and maintaining and renewing the urban water infrastructure are some of the unprecedented challenges facing urban water management. Meanwhile, the cities resilience against extreme events such as droughts and flooding needs to be achieved. Several aspects of this project offer potential for replication in diverse contexts.. The concept of a 14km urban park, regenerating the waterfront with green spaces, community engagement, and the use of natural resources serves as a scalable idea for coastal cities facing similar challenges. The sustainable water treatment solutions can be transferred to cities worldwide fighting with water scarcity issues. The emphasis on the nature meeting urban landscapes, water management and human coming closer to their natural landscapes can inspire similar projects globally, in various settings.
The project offers nuanced local solutions to several pressing global challenges. Its focus on sustainable water treatment solutions directly addresses the worldwide concerns of water scarcity and declining water quality. By implementing efficient water management techniques, including wetlands and mechanical treatment, the project sets an example for global urban areas grappling with similar water-related issues. Furthermore, the creation of a 14km urban park responds to the global challenge of urbaniaation and the diminishing availability of green spaces. This local solution serves as a model for other cities seeking to balance urban development while preserving natural environments. In addressing climate change, the project's strategies, such as green infrastructure and water management, exemplify a localized response to the broader global challenge of adapting coastal cities to the impacts of climate change.
Over the next year, the project can engage closely with the community, test specific aspects of our proposal in the urban park, and educate people about the benefits of the approach to water-sensitive urban design. I hope to work with local authorities and organizations, implement small-scale versions in the park, and raise awareness through events. I also aim to influence local policies and share the findings the aim is to make this approach widely applicable and beneficial not just locally but potentially in other urban areas facing similar challenges.
  • Hydroscape-Ioulia voulgari.pdf
    (31,61 MB - pdf)