4 Memories + 1 Warning
(1) First visit
A unique experience, intense, so strong that even today it overshadows all the professional or leisure visits I’ve made to Braga Stadium: I went with Eduardo to see the dantesque quarry where he would locate his elegant football stadium! We entered from above and were greeted by an aggressive, emaciated, squalid pack that we scared off with a shower of stones. The huge pit of the quarry fell vertically, mossy, scored with strange ferruginous colours. Across the abyss, wrapped in a dense cloud promising guaranteed silicosis, the workers were sawing granite with the piercing whine of the mighty grinders, the men all white, powder-coated ghosts who looked more like bakers. The days of all those people, all those primitive shacks, all those machines were numbered: that hole, that copper lake, all this would disappear to give way to the boldness of a truly unimaginable project. Impressed, in the thick of the dust and over the noise, I said to Eduardo, amazed, “This looks like a scene from Kusturica!”
(2) “House for the rich”
I returned to this granite platform in my professional capacity to be filmed and interviewed by RTP, which was making a video about Eduardo Souto de Moura, who had directed them to me. I had in mind the unpleasant incident in the south of Spain at a meeting of Portuguese and Andalusian architects in which someone with responsibility on our side described Eduardo as an unimportant architect with too much prominence because his work was no more than “half a dozen houses for the rich”.
I stood behind my tripod, aiming my Cambo at the daunting hole, and facing the camera, I pointed my finger at the precipice and with conviction said, and it was recorded: “… this is where Eduardo will prove that he doesn’t only build houses for the rich”. And so he did!
I enthusiastically followed the works at the stadium. I witnessed some fantastic moments. I have experienced many of Eduardo´s concerns. I remember that one day he called me saying that one of the walls of the quarry, subject like everything else to constant measurements, had shifted by several centimetres. This was a work of courage, stubbornness, dreaming. Of all the actions that I was able to witness, one was particularly memorable: the group of Italians who set up the cables that connect the two roofs of the stands. Funambulists, with precise gestures and bold “flights”. The skills of the South.
(4) Portugal vs Italy
It’s raining. It’s raining a lot. I was in the “Quarry” with José Bernardo Távora to see Portugal vs Italy which, as usual, we lost. Looking south, I remembered with emotion Kusturica. Looking up, I saw the funambulists flying across the cables. That spectacular hole is also a little bit mine, because it’s imprinted in my memory.
Warning: this is a classified work; anything that defaces it is a crime.
Luís Ferreira Alves
Location Porto, Portugal
Client Câmara Municipal de Braga
Architecture Souto Moura Arquitectos Lda
Authors Eduardo Souto de Moura
Collaborators Carlo Nozza, Ricardo Merí, Enrique Penichet,
Atsushi Hoshima, Diego Setien, Carmo Correia, Sérgio Koch, Joaquim Portela, Luisa Rosas, Jorge Domingues, Adriano Pimenta, Ricardo Rosa Santos, Diogo Guimarães, José Carlos Mariano, João Queiroz e Lima, Tiago Coelho, Nuno Graça Moura
Landscape Consultants Daniel Monteiro
Stadium Revise Consultants Arup Associated – Dipesh Patel
Engineering Coordination Rui Furtado; AFAssociados Lda
Structural Engineering Rui Furtado, Carlos Quinaz, Renato Bastos, Pedro Moas, Rui Oliveira,
Rodrigo Andrade e Castro, Pedro Pacheco, Miguel Paula Rocha, António André, João Dores, Sérgio Vale, Nuno Neves, Rafael Gonçalves, Andreia Delfim, Miguel Braga, João Coutinho, António Monteiro, AFAssociados
Hydraulic Engineering Maria Elisa Parente, Joana Neves; AFAssociados Lda
Electrical Engineering António José Rodrigues Gomes, António Ferreira, Luís Fernandes; RGA
Mechanical Engineering José Silva Teixeira, Tiago Fernandes; RGA
Code Consultancy Christian Aoustin; Gerisco
Excavation Consultants Estevão Santana, João Burmester
Roads Estevão Santana, João Burmester
Geotechnics António Silva Cardoso, CÊGÊ
Wind Study Andrew Alisop, Andrew Minson, Ove Arup & Partners
Rigid model tests Mark Hunter, Michael Soligo, RWDI
Aeroelastic model tests Aage Damsghaard, DMI Danish Maritime Institut
Dynamics Elsa Caetano, Instituto Construção da FEUP
Roofs Tensotec, Soares da Costa S.A.
General excavation Aurélio Martins Sobreiro, Adérito Faneca
Retaining ACE-ASSOC / Tecnasol
Structures, Installations ACE-ASSOC / Soares da Costa S.A.
Finishings and Exteriors Lionel Correia, Jorge Oliveira, Mário Duarte, Mário Pereira, Santos Costa