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Ivo Oliveira

Intervention Location

Vila Chã

Places and scales of a fishing nucleus: the houses of Vila Chã

Cristiana Silva

Urban evolution always reflects the confrontation between new ways of living and building and the old practices that are bound to the characteristics of each location. This research aims to contribute to the indispensable transformation process on any location so that it may coexist with the preservation of social, architectural and urban qualities that have been present for a long time. From analyzing a specific territory, we intend to contribute rigorously to the acknowledgment and appreciation of an urban setting whose identity is inseparable from relations established between the earth and the sea. Fishing, seagrass, agriculture, emigration, the family, women, and the way of building form important themes through which a shared way of life is decoded, and the collective memory is constructed. The investigation is based on 3 levels of approximation. The first level of approximation is centered on the notion of territory, where the analysis is made all the way to the borders of Vila Chã, with the possibility of extending it to neighboring parishes and municipalities, in order to characterize the existing relations between spaces, often distant but profoundly committed to the daily lives and routines of the population. On a second level of approximation, the notion of neighborhood is portrayed and emphasized by the image of life in a community supported by a set of spaces and functions of proximity – the house is complemented by spaces and processes that are part of the public space in Vila Chã. The third level of approximation focuses on the notion of home, which allows us to understand how the way of building and occupying the most intimate space, associated with maritime activities, as if it was a refuge, reflects in its organization the daily work life of the fishermen, and it also allows us to think of the relation between the space and their lifestyle. The three levels of approximation correspond to a process that extends from the general to the particular, despite there being – inevitably – many intersections/overlaps that have been discovered during the investigation, due to the direct and prolonged experience of the locations under study. Above all, these three levels of analysis allow us to organize the communication of a reality which is complex and in which everything is related, which makes it easier to describe some factors that have caused deep transformations in the community of Vila Chã and, consequently, in its urban development. With the elaboration of a dissertation within the scope of a piscatory community, it was intended to describe a place in which the people and spaces that constitute the distinct heritage that has resulted in the growing transformation of the coastal area in spaces of leisure/tourism survive. It isn’t expected for the investigation to profoundly change that which has been the transformation of these locations, although it leaves some insight on realities which can inform future transformations. The protection of this location and this community is justified by the need to preserve a way of living in a society and occupying a space that is distinct from that which is predominant today.