More than anything, the Fort São Marcello defines Salvador; it is the frontier of the city, always omnipresent in the memory of the city. Its only function to protect the city yet it has come to define the city.
The Forte is a prime example of military engineering, it is a building thought not as architecture but as a diagram of compulsion. The result is a uniquely beautiful and clear building.
The fort is a unique example within fortifications with its distinctive circular plan. The Fort has undergone several changes, extensions and adaptions throughout its military history. From military installation to prison to destination the fort is strong and yet flexible enough to embrace new programs and functions. New cultural and leisure activities will open to the city, the Forte will regain a programmatic presence adapted to contemporary condition and use.
The Fortification is closed and hermetic in its nature, it is built to protect the city, yet always distant and secluded from its citizens. The fort is known only as exterior.
The project for its recuperation is to open up and make accessible, to open up it’s interior to the public and as a place to contemplate the city. From the fort one gets a panoptical perspective on the historic city of Salvador. To visit the fort is to visit Salvador.
The project projects the fort as a museum, a view point for the city, a restaurant and event space. A new living part of the city, to visit and experience the history of Salvador.
The fort is closed towards the sea and the intruder, and only opened on its back: the side we know: the side that faces the city. We enter in the back of the building to arrive in the open air.
A new glass-roof encloses the space of the lower circular ring of the fort, yet maintains it as an open space, define by the two stonewalls and the sky. It’s a ´Look no hands` strategy. The roof structure is radial from the inner circle, it cantilevers of the inner wall and stops short of the exterior wall, only the glass cover reaches the exterior wall, enhancing the lightness, temporal and openness of the addition. The spaces of the fort exist as spaces within walls rather than spaces between walls. The space of the fort is carved in mass. The roof protects the lower level of the fort and creates a continuous controlled environment for exhibition in the existing rooms of the fort.
Above a floating disk defines a space for events, restaurant and café. The disk is inclined and opens up towards the view of the city. The inclination follows the architecture of the fort, open to the city and closed to the ocean. The inclination preserves the silhouette of the fort when viewed from the city; it maintains visibility of all the lines of the fort as seen from the city.
The floating disk follows the perimeter of the inner circle of the fort. A large circular opening opens the restaurant to the sky and the stars, it is an internal patio, when opening it creates an optical illusion of a burning rim.
The glass façade is retracted from the perimeter creating a covered terraces and rendering the façade invisible from a distance. The internal spaces of the restaurant are enclosed behind curved translucent walls, all slightly fluctuating above the fort.
The new enclosures contrast the massivity of the existing fort. It is mass versus lightness.
Prefeitura de Salvador
Salvador, Bahia, Brasil
Baía de Todos-os-Santos
2013 - ongoing
Project a fortification into a museum, a view point for the city, a restaurant and event space
João Vieira Costa , Mariana Alves, Eugénio Cardoso, Viola Lambrughi, Diogo Madeira, Florent Prevost, Gabriel Spera
VS-A.KR, Robert Jan van Santen