Tidal Pool

The Matosinhos City Council just wanted to build a swimming pool. Until Siza Vieira took the project and created a monument – the “Piscina das Marés” (Tidal Pool).

The “Piscina das Marés” is a set of saltwater pools located on Leça Beach in the parish of Leça da Palmeira, in the municipality of Matosinhos (Portugal).

Built in the 1960s and inaugurated in 1966, it was designed by Álvaro Siza Vieira, Portugal’s most renowned and award-winning contemporary architect. In 2006 it was classified as a National Monument.

The two saltwater pools (one just for children) are an alternative to the many beaches that stretch along the municipality of Matosinhos.

Piscina das Marés includes two swimming pools, changing rooms and a bar/lounge.

Piscina das Marés, Leça da Palmeira

Inaugurated in 1966, this pool has been classified as a National Monument since 2011 and continues to operate during the bathing season.

The idea of building a swimming pool next to Leça da Palmeira beach arose in the 1950s and was part of the project to turn Leça da Palmeira into a nationally renowned bathing center.

Initially it was to be little more than a water tank that would be filled with the movement of the tides, but it ended up being a work of art, with a pool for children and another for adults, changing rooms and a bar.

Tidal Pool: An Architectural Jewel by Álvaro Siza Vieira

Siza Vieira – Pritzker (1992)

Some of the particularity of this pool lies in the name of its author, the architect Siza Vieira, the most renowned and awarded Portuguese architect today, but it is also worth mentioning that it is one of the best examples of what is known as organic architecture in Portugal. According to this line of architecture, as well as seeking to satisfy people’s interests, the building constructed must also take into account its integration into the environment, into nature.

Siza Vieira designed the Boa-Nova Tea House shortly before, almost simultaneously with the Quinta da Conceição Swimming Pool, at the end of the 1960s. He had completed his architecture degree at the Porto School of Fine Arts in 1955, making these monuments some of the young architect’s first works. Matosinhos City Council’s initial idea was actually to build a pond, fed by the coming and going of the nearby Atlantic Ocean.

The greatest representative of Portuguese architecture, he was the first Portuguese architect to receive a Pritzker Prize (1992). He also received a Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale (2012) and is known for his universal and particular architecture.

It is in Leça da Palmeira that we find some of his most emblematic works: the Quinta da Conceição Swimming Pool (1958-1965), the Marés Swimming Pool (1961-1966), the Boa Nova Tea House (1958-1965) and more recently the Leça da Palmeira waterfront (2006) which, as well as uniting these last two works, results in a space adapted to its new functions and characteristics of centrality and leisure space.

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