Walking among the existing concrete cylinder maintenance hatches under the beating Porto sun at the Serpa Pinto water reservoir, there is little evidence of the dark, coolness filled with water a few feet below the surface. Our proposal is to bring the physical and psychological effects of water to the surface of Serpa Pinto, strengthening a sense of place and inherent beauty. The concrete cylinders are transformed to glowing light wells that serve as art pedestals. High output LED lamps are placed to reflect the reservoir’s rippling surface, casting an illuminated pattern of water on translucent glass above. The sculptures are lit with moving echoes of what lies beneath the surface. The illuminated “cuts” become ethereal strips of water connecting art and events.

The redesigned cylinders now transmit sunlight into the reservoir, disinfecting with ultra violet radiation. Warm, dry winds blowing through Porto pass through the new grilled openings of the concrete pedestals to the cool surface of the reservoir. The louvers on top of the cylinders create cross ventilation, drawing the cooled winds up and create comfortable microclimates throughout the park.

Client: Competition
Program: Sculpture Park
Area: 300 sf
Status: Completed 2011
Project Architect: Thomas Kosbau
Design Team: Christopher Tomlan, Layman Lee
Awards: 2nd Place Award