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Gruta das Torres Visitor Centre

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Ines Vieira da Silva, Miguel Vieira
 
location Criação Velha
function information centre, tourism
contributed by Carlos_SantAna

Pico Island has the biggest number of volcanic caves in the Azores. The Gruta das Torres was discovered in 1990 and is, with a length of 5150 metres, Pico Island's biggest cave. When the regional authorities decided to open the cave as a tourist attraction, they commissioned SAMI.arquitectos to build a visitor's centre to inform and support the tourists and at the same time protect the fragile skylight, the result of a natural ceiling collapse. The architects came up with two main elements: a circular sweep and a linear spatial organization - a sequence of programmatic spaces that prepare visitors for the spectacle below. The construction is a reinterpretation of local building techniques. The 'currais de figueira' structures ('fig tree walls'), once built to protect vineyards from wind and seawater damage, here naturally became the south façade of the building, its open-weave structure allowing light to infiltrate the entire building, as well as avoiding the necessity for windows.

 

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Naomi says:
Check out the satellite images or zoom out on the map, you'll see the islands of the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean.
Amsterdam, Netherlands 13-Sep-07
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Facts
Gruta das Torres Visitor Centre
Address
Gruta das Torres
Portugal
Project is public!
Opening hours Open only in summer.
How to get there? The 'Gruta das Torres' are located outside of Criação Velha, a parish on the westcoast of Ilha do Pico, one of the Azores islands. The Azores are part of Portugal and can be found in the Atlantic Ocean.
Completion 2005
Main designer, ArchitectInes Vieira da Silva
ArchitectMiguel Vieira
Client Direcção Regional do Ambiente + Secretaria Regional do Ambiente e do Mar
 
Project ID 947
Latitude/Longitude 38°30'24N 28°30'17W
Contributed by Carlos_SantAna
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