ETAR de Bragança by MASSLAB

ETAR de Bragança

At the cutting edge of architecture, landscaping, and engineering, the project by MASSLAB architecture office for the new roof of Bragança’s Water Treatment Plant will allow public use of this infrastructure, which until now only served with a utilitarian purpose.

The project manifests the potential for transformation through architecture, adding value to existing infrastructures by rethinking them and introducing new functions.

More than a simple roof, the project envisioned a livable infrastructure as a new public space with high recreational value and educational purpose, accessible to everyone.

The project for the public competition launched by the Bragança City Council focuses on the comprehensive urban rehabilitation of the landscape, incorporating a recreational program.

Aiming to change the negative perception associated with Water Treatment facilities through basic disinfection and deodorization needs, the architects felt the need to transform this structure into an engaging and integral part of the city fabric, capable of promoting new recreational, educational, and leisure areas, to educate and raise interest in water preservation and treatment.

More than designing a “roof garden” with the concern of integrating the built environment into the existing landscape next to the Bragança castle, equipping the structure with varied uses was the key element in rethinking the project.

This achievement led the office to decide to establish a new department at the beginning of 2024, to redefine this type of infrastructure, which combines essential urban systems with high recreational value, cultural, and pedagogical functions.

To make this building a space for educational purposes, but also a tourist and public utility attraction, the project foresees multiple access points to the plot. The flexibility of the spaces allows for school visits or events, offering different possibilities of use and transforming simple paths into places of encounter and social interaction.

Through the visual contact between the interior operation of the water treatment and the livable landscaped roof, an educational goal is to create a dynamic between the private space of the infrastructure and the public space. To better integrate the Water Treatment Infrastructure into the landscape, existing accesses were preserved and enriched with new elements, such as viewpoints and pedestrian paths.

Special emphasis on a walkway along the Fervença River, which directly connects the building to the watercourse, promoting continuous interaction between the built and natural environments.

The new cover includes the optimization of the structure through the integrated quadrangular geometric shapes with new vegetation, contributing to both an aesthetic and practical solution. These squares allow a wide range of space occupation possibilities, which can be fixed or temporary, according to the municipality’s needs.

The squared concrete structure, with foundations in pilotis, is designed to interfere minimally with the existing construction and valley, emphasizing an economical approach to have the least possible impact on the existing natural landscape. Through light entrances, a dynamic relationship is created between the private space of the infrastructure and the public space. Source by MASSLAB.

  • Location: Bragança, Portugal
  • Architect: MASSLAB
  • Lead Architects: Diogo Sousa Rocha, Duarte Ramalho Fontes, Lourenço Menezes Rodrigues
  • Design Team: Diogo Parente Mina, Amr Ragaei, Francesco Podda, Sedef Cicekdiken
  • Engineering: Noraqua
  • Client: Câmara Municipal de Bragança
  • Status: Competition. 1st prize
  • Gross Built Area: 6.800 m2
  • Year: 2024
  • Images: Fusão + Mino, Courtesy of MASSLAB