Project in Detail
PNF Head Office
Concelho Santa Catarina - Cova Figueira, Cape Verde
OTO + Jorge Graça Costa Architect, Oeiras, Portugal
World Architecture Festival 2009 - Shortlisted
Djarfogo, means Ilha do Fogo (Island of Fire), one of the most beautiful islands of Cape Verde. Properly named Island of Fire, in honour to the presence of the great volcano, one of the most notable symbols of all Cape Verde.
The Natural Park of Ilha do Fogo, includes the whole area of the top of the island as well as the volcanic cone (2.829.00 meters above the sea level). This central zone of the Ilha do Fogo is the highest peak of Cape Verde.
The need of preserving the natural endemic species existent in that unique landscape, was the mean reason for the creation of the Natural Park of the Ilha do Fogo (PNF - Parque Natural do Fogo).
Chã de Caldeiras Natural Park’s Head Office project, in Ilha do Fogo, holds a broad approach to sustainability. This ground-breaking building will be co-financed by the Cape Verde Government and the German cooperation agency, this agency gives impetus to economic, social and ecological development worldwide.
This merger of unique natural heritage, volcano, crater, and one of the worlds rarest beauties, garners the ideal conditions to distinguish Mount Fogo as world heritage.
The biggest challenge encountered in this project, was maximizing the few local resources through the discourse between man and nature in an attempt to “do more with less” with a sustainably sensible approach.
The main idea was to sketch and plan the structure so that it becomes a part of the landscape and that the landscape also becomes a part of the structure, blending all elements together in a symphony of symbiosis.
The idea was as well, to extend the volcanic area and subsisting vegetation of the Natural Park, to the new administrative headquarters. Attracting visitors and locals to confidently descend toward the bottom of the crater, through carefully considered pedestrian paths amid the volcanic rocks.
The inclusion of the construction on the surroundings is achieved by using mostly black masonry block, a mixture of cement and axes of the volcano. The use of the natural resources and the energetic efficiency are a priority.
The building articulates the administration and cultural functions. The cultural body (the most significant space) is distributed in 3 main areas: the exhibition area, the exterior auditorium area and the semi-buried auditorium area.
The existing pedestrian paths exiting on the green roof are also composed by the local fauna and flora.
Particular features are highlighted, such as environmental energy and social aspects. A structure made by the people for the people, employing manual labor as well as making use of local resources with reduced environmental impact.
Ilha do Fogo's Natural Park Head Office will gain a completely different edifice. Not only is it a tourist attraction itself, but also a training centre and support intended for all kinds of activities for the local community.
OTO + Jorge Graça Costa Architect
João Miguel Amado Alves
Client / Developer
Cape Verde Ministry of Agriculture