The conversion works of the former Matadouro Industrial in Campanhã have already completed a year and the future that will begin there is closer to seeing the light of day. At the international forum Urban Future 22, in Helsingborg, Sweden, the Mayor of Porto explained, in detail, the city’s plans for that space.
In front of a full audience, Rui Moreira gave a history of the Matadouro project, describing it as an “incredible place”: “In the middle of this poor neighborhood, next to the railway line, under a motorway”, listed the mayor, there was “the typical old slaughterhouse, built at the beginning of the 20th century, which took a long time to build, due to the First World War”.
Since the 90’s that it has not been operational, and my predecessor had the brilliant idea of selling it to build a “Chinatown”. Fortunately, for us, no one was interested. For five million euros, nobody bought it. Imagine how lucky we were”, added the Mayor of Porto, moving on to the project definition phase: “We were working on a masterplan for this part of town, and we started by listening to people. We made sure it was safe to go in there and we opened the space for everyone: we held events there, fashion shows, all kind of public art.”
Light was born from the discussion, Rui Moreira continued. “One day someone said to me: ‘This is not a slaughterhouse; it is a street. It looks like Corso Vittorio Emanuele, in Milan. It is incredible’. That is why we presented, the project for the first time, at the Milan design triennial. It took a long time, but sometimes time is our ally, because we wanted to listen to people and have them help us think about the program”, he stressed.
The building, designed by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, will house companies, but also art depositories, museums, auditoriums, and social cohesion projects. “Of the total area, 60% will be for business and we will reserve 40% for ourselves. What do we want to do there? First, public art, the Galeria Municipal. Since I took office, we have been acquiring, every year, works by Portuguese artists that are exhibited at the Municipal Gallery, so we have a collection to display”, explained the Mayor of Porto.
“Social investment in art and culture”
“There were also art collections in the city of Porto, we discovered amazing collectors who wanted to give away their treasures to be exhibited in museums. We are going to have a kind of orientalist museum, a bit like Rijksmuseum, smaller, obviously. We needed social investment in art and culture, to connect all this, and schools. Our 40% will consist of this. And, we will also have something we really need: artists residencies, which will be occupied on a rotating basis. Not only for the city’s artists, but people who want to be in Porto – we will have residencies for them”, added Rui Moreira.
The consignment notice signed in October 2020, foresees that this anchor project for the development of the Eastern part of the city, home of economic and business activity, cultural valences, and a center of social dynamism, will be explored in a partnership between the private and public sector.
Of an area of about 26 thousand square meters, it is planned to use about 20.500 m2 of buildings, of which about 12.500 m2 are destined for business space (to be explored by Mota Engil, as the concessionaire), and almost 8.000 m2 of spaces to be explored by the Municipality of Porto.
In the area to be managed by the Municipality, there will be spaces with cultural and social dynamics, namely a new extension of the Museu da Cidade (which will house the private collection of Távora Sequeira Pinto, as already announced); an extension of the Galeria Municipal; a collection and deposit of works of art; an educational space; another space for culture and social practices and an area for the municipal studios project, which will be registered as the Matadouro hub.
A building it will also be made available for the new facilities of the PSP – Polícia de Segurança Pública (3rd Divisão Policial do Comando Metropolitano do Porto).
The conversion work of the old Matadouro represents an investment of around 40 million euros, fully guaranteed by a private company, in the north of the country, Mota Engil, which won the public tender launched by Porto City Hall. At the end of 30 years of the concession, the equipment returns to the municipal sphere.
Rui Moreira’s intervention at Urban Future 22 took place during the panel “Brownfield unicorns: Turning terrible into terrific”, which addresses the relationship between heritage and urban transformation. Moderated by Haris Piplas, expert in urban design and planning, with the participation of Soraia Taipa, from LIPOR, Christina Salmhofer, sustainability expert in the Port of Stockholm, and Jaffer Muljiani sustainability consultant at BDP (Building Design Partnership). The Urban Future 22 forum runs until this Friday, the 3rd, in Helsingborg, in Sweden.