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Elderly house | Competition | Shortlisted
Barreira, Portugal
Saudade is an intricate emotion that can be evoked through architecture. It encapsulates a longing, a nostalgic yearning for something that has been lost, or a profound sense of absence. In the context of architecture, saudade evokes a sentiment of longing for the past, an intangible connection to a bygone era where the social fabric, shared experiences, and interconnectedness were deeply ingrained. Nowadays, elderly homes have become institutionalized buildings that tend to be interpreted as introverted, repetitive, and at times, segregated. Saudade has inspired our design in the quest to rediscover what we have lost in our approach to elderly care: places that evoke the essence of villages, where winding alleys adorned with balconies and lively public squares emanated a profound sense of community and belonging, where every individual found their place and relevance within their immediate environment.

   Through thoughtful design elements, carefully chosen materials, and deliberate spatial arrangements, architecture can evoke saudade by capturing the essence of Portuguese history, memories, and a sense of impermanence. In our pursuit of materializing this essence, we employ local materials like rock and wood, paying homage to the rich historical legacy of the region. By crafting narrow alleys that intertwine with accessible open plazas and embracing the presence of nature throughout the project, we aim to revive the charm and vitality of village life. Our belief in saudade extends beyond the mere recognition of the interplay between the present and absence; it serves as a profound reflection, reminding us to reintroduce spaces that once sparked happiness and joy. This project serves as an invitation for residents to contemplate the transience of life, as this architecture becomes a vessel that preserves and celebrates collective memories.
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