Open House Porto 2015: Piscina Das Marés

Piscina das Marés, Leça da Palmeira (Porto, Portugal) (4)

This weekend is the First Edition of Open House Porto, an architectural initiative that is part of Open House Worldwide (Doors Open in Toronto is similar). 42 spaces around Porto, Vila Nova da Gaia, and Matosinhos are open to the public at specific times and the event offers guided tours either led by volunteers, architects or specialists.

We visited four sites today, the first of which was Piscina das Marés in Leça da Palmeira (Matosinhos). I first saw these pools in some random aerial footage shot by a drone (similar to this; see also this) and I searched on a satellite map of Porto to find and photograph them. But it was my first winter, and Paulo informed me the pools are only open in the summer. Then before I knew it, Summer #1 came and went and I had to wait for Summer #2 to get around to it. Open House Porto made it easy — and free — for me to tick this one off the list, finally.

The Piscina das Marés has two pools with filtered sea water, the larger one for adults and the smaller one for young children. Each one is built into the natural rock formations at a lower level from the road and only pedestrians notice part of the pools if they know where to look. Renowned Matosinhos-born architect Álvaro Siza Vieira designed it this way to preserve the view to the ocean. The Piscina is one of his earliest projects (1961-1966) along with nearby Boa Nova Restaurant (formerly Tea House), and in 2006 both were declared National Monuments.

http://alvarosizavieira.com/1966-leca-swimming-pools

I found a documentary video on Vimeo (6mins) that delves into the architectural philosophy behind the construction:

We attended the first guided tour with a specialist at 9am as they were opening, so the bathers were just beginning to arrive. It’s a popular spot, but if you’re an earlybird you will get the worm in Portugal because the Portuguese are not morning people — the parking lots along Avenida da Liberdade were still mostly empty at 9 o’clock. I predict we’ll be back here before the summer’s out, but with swimsuits and without the cameras.

Piscina das Marés, Leça da Palmeira (Porto, Portugal) (1)

Piscina das Marés, Leça da Palmeira (Porto, Portugal) (2)

Piscina das Marés, Leça da Palmeira (Porto, Portugal) (3)

Piscina das Marés, Leça da Palmeira (Porto, Portugal) (5)

Piscina das Marés, Leça da Palmeira (Porto, Portugal) (6)

Piscina das Marés, Leça da Palmeira (Porto, Portugal) (7)

Piscina das Marés, Leça da Palmeira (Porto, Portugal) (8)

Piscina das Marés, Leça da Palmeira (Porto, Portugal) (9)

Piscina das Marés, Leça da Palmeira (Porto, Portugal) (10)

Piscina Das Marés
Avenida da Liberdade
4450-716 Leça da Palmeira

Website: http://www.matosinhosport.com/gca/?id=440
Tel: 22 995 2610
Email: geral@matosinhosport.com

HOURS: June-September, every day 09:00-19:00

Coordinates:
Lat: 41 ° 11’34.40 “N
Long: 8 ° 42’27.58 “W

July 4, 2015
Album: Portugal [Summer 2015]