Digital Centre of Porto Salvo


Porto Salvo is a small community, of rural birth in the 17th century, which suffered two major and separate stages of urban growth. The first one took place in the 70’s and 80’s and consisted mainly of single-family houses, some of these built illegally, that sided the already existing streets. The second one, of bigger proportions, consisted of unconnected allotment operations destined for 4-storeys apartment-buildings, set in a row, without any logic as an urban whole.

This new reality is interrupted by a main street, narrow and without sidewalks, tortured by intense traffic, which connects Paço d’Arcos (and the A5 highway) to the Tagus Park. It is here that we find the small lot where the Central is grounded, its safe and adequate access guaranteed by a secondary street to the north, at the east-side of the building.

The explosion of new residential neighbourhoods in the Cascais area led to the need to broaden telecom networks, therefore the need to build this Digital Central and to have it working, on a first stage, at only 50 percent of its full capacity. A Telecom Central is a very specific building, being uninhabited for the most part, except for sparse maintenance visits and where, due to the sensitive machinery inside, natural light is not at all wanted.

Bearing in mind its sensitivity and expenses, this equipment demands a constant temperature and humidity, besides the need to be immune to any power instability. Thus, the building has to be fully autonomous in terms of energy. Its monitoring and control is made remotely from Lisbon.

Having no other inner requirements than the logic of its machinery, the architectonic concept for the building was centred in shape and in urban performance.

In this context, the building starts by being isolated in the centre of the lot, following the basic perimeter of 3 metres (9,84 feet), the same as any other allotment. In a second phase it receives the feedback of the neighbour constructions (octagonal impressions of their volumetric). Next, the building cuts in its volume the rounded corner of the street that leads to the main road and, in a space-time abstract process, in successive steps, keeps on regulating its specific morphology.


TLP, Telefones de Lisboa e Porto

Porto Salvo, Oeiras, Portugal

1992 - 1º Award

825 m2


ARX Portugal, Arquitectos lda.

José Mateus

Nuno Mateus


Alexandra Margaça

Structures, Water and Sewage, Acoustics systems


Installations and Electrical Equipment, Computer and Telecommunications
Facilities, Mechanical Planning



José Manuel


OGB, Obras Gerais de Betão