Keywords Change this

Concrete, Social Housing

Project timeline

1973 – 1978



Location Change this

Rua da Boavista, Rua Marti Liberdade
4000 Porto

Architect Change this

Client Change this


Gross floor area Change this



Article last edited by Bostjan on
October 08th, 2019

Social housing SAAL Bouca Change this

Porto, Portugal
by Alvaro Siza Change this
1 of 21

Description Change this

The Bouça was a relatively inexpansive project. Years later, discussion revealed the desire of making improvement in quality and comfort. It was necessary to respond to the needs expressed, though some were on preconceptions that accompany objective improvement in quality of life. So once again the project involved participation. When the work was finished the reactions of the market demonstrated that that type of housing corresponded fully to the present trend in terms of economical housing, but also, for better or worse, it appealed to other sectors of the population: students, young professionals, recently formed families, protagonists of the mobility that characterized contemporary cities. In a certain sense the integrity of the first design has been lost in the revision. But now at the entrance there is a subway station that offers connection to the entire city: people flow through the area, the infrastructures are open to the surrounding streets. There is a well-kept garden, there are cars, as in any other residential complex.

After a gap of 30 years the commitment of the federation of cooperatives turned out to be decisive to make the Câmara municipal do Porto and the Instituto nacional habitação decide to finish this project from the 1970s. Besides completing the second phase, the aim was to renovate the existing houses. It would not be easy to convince the residents to abandon the improvised things made previously. The reluctance to accept an interruption of their „magnificent isolation“, in the city center. In spite of the bad condition, was quite perceptible: as was their fear that the rents would go up. Patient dialogue was necessary, promising the residents to keep the initial project almost intact, with just a few exceptions; the aim was to preserve the already built, already inhabited units as part of a unified project.


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