archipelago contemporary arts center

são miguel, azores

BigMat'17 International Architecture Award

Premis FAD 2016

RIBA International Prize Shortlist 2016


Quiet Variation

The design of Archipelago – Contemporary Arts Center – maintains the industrial character of the whole and highlights the dialogue between an existing building (former factory of alcohol / tobacco) and the new construction (arts and culture center, storage facilities,  multipurpose hall / performing arts,laboratories, artist studios).

The design does not exaggerate the differences between the old and the new buildings. On the contrary, it seeks to unite the different scales and times of its parts throughout a pictorial manipulation of the form and materiality of the buildings – the existing buildings demarked by the volcanic stone masonry and the new buildings characterized by an abstract form, without reference or allusion to any language, built in concrete with local basalt inert continuously working with the variation of surfaces, textures and rugosity, complementing the mass of the building with the emptiness of the patios.

The ACAC acquires its identity by the quiet variation between the preexistence and the two new buildings. The containment strategy of facilities implementation enhances the spatial efficiency and hierarchical functionality of the different areas of the existing factory complex. The new buildings absorb the required special functionalities that are not compatible with the spatiality of preexisting buildings.

The design is committed to the quality of what exists, showing the typological variations –new buildings are placed next to the existing ones in a serene manner –underlining the architectonical memory of a given period and the new addition,without damaging or subverting the spatial and constructive structures of the whole.Context and contiguity contribute to the autonomy of the object.


2017 BigMat ’17 International Architecture Award 2017 finalist, Luxemburgh

2016 BIAU 2016 award, X Bienal Iberoamericana de Arquitectura y Urbanismo, São Paulo

2016 Winner Premis FAD d'Arquitectura i Interiorisme, Barcelona

2016 European Prize finalist for Urban Public Space 2016, Barcelona

2016 RIBA Award for International Excellence 2016, London

2016 RIBA International Prize shortlist 2016, London

2014 Nomenee for European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture - Mies Van Der Rohe Award 2015, Barcelona


2007 (1st prize)




2011- 2014


Regional Directorateof Culture (DRaC), Government of the Azores


Ribeira Grande, São Miguel, Azores, Portugal


12.914 m² (9.736 m²buildings + 3.178 m² exterior arrangement)


Francisco Vieira de Campos, Cristina Guedes, João Mendes Ribeiro

Project Manager

Adalgisa Lopes, Jorge Teixeira Dias(Project phase), Inês Mesquitaand Filipe Catarino

Project Team (Menos é Mais Arquitectos Associados, Lda.)

Cristina Maximino, João Pontes, Luís Campos, Ana Leite Fernandes,Mariana Sendas, Pedro Costa, Inês Ferreira, João Fernandes

Project Team (João Mendes Ribeiro Arquitecto, Lda.)

Catarina Fortuna, Ana Cerqueira, Ana Rita Martins,António Ferreira da Silva, Cláudia Santos, Joana Figueiredo, João Branco


Diogo Laje, Óscar Ribas, Ricardo Cardoso (Estúdio Goma)


Hipólito Sousa, Jerónimo Botelho, Pedro Pinto (SOPSEC,SA)

Hydraulic Installations

Diogo Leite, Filipe Freitas, Jorge Rocha (SOPSEC,SA)

Electrical Installations

Raul Serafim, Hélder Ferreira (Raul Serafim & Associados, Lda)

Security Measures and Fire Consulting

Maria da Luz Santiago (Raul Serafim & Associados, Lda)

Mechanical Installations

Raul Bessa, Ricardo Carreto (GET, Lda.)


José Pinto (SOPSEC,SA)

Specialist/ Consulting


Elisa Babo (Quaternaire), Miguel Von HaffPérez, Marta Almeida

Conservationand Restoration Consulting

Gabriella Casella (Cariátides)

Acoustic consulting

Rui Calejo, Eduarda Silva, Filomena Macedo (SOPSEC,SA)

Thermal consulting

André Apolinário (SOPSEC,SA)

Stage Mechanics Consulting

João Aidos


Ana Barroco, Rui Figueiredo (Quaternaire)


Consórcio Somague, Marques S.A. e Tecnovia.


Pedro Câmara (Eng. Tavares Vieira, Lda.)


Menos é Mais Arquitectos Associados, Lda.


José Campos