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Porto has decided to renovate the oldest mall on the Iberian Peninsula

Porto has decided to renovate the oldest mall on the Iberian Peninsula

It was inaugurated in 1976, back when escalators were considered a novelty

The City of Porto has decided to pay attention to some of its more modern architectural heritage. In that context, the City Council signed a contract with the architect João Ferros to renovate and upgrade the iconic ‘Brasília’ shopping centre in order to make it better for the contemporary standards and expectations.

The Brasília, as it is colloquially called, is a famous landmark in the city and the country, because it is the oldest mall in the Iberian Peninsula. It was inaugurated on 9 October 1976, only two years after Portugal’s Carnation Revolution and the establishment of democracy there. It was quite an attraction in its day, but it has not been renovated since then.

A new look with the environment in mind

The Porto authorities have set half a million euros aside for the renovation project, which was entrusted to João Ferros, known for his ‘humanized urbanism’ approach to architecture.

When it opened its doors 45 years ago, it was the first place to feature escalators and thus proved quite the attraction to a public hungry for innovative wonders. Located in Praça de Mouzinho de Albuquerque (Rotunda da Boavista), this space remains attractive both for its privileged location and for the value of the rents of the stores.

The novelty of the mechanical stairs has naturally long worn off and it is time to introduce some new features, based on digitalization and environmental concerns.  The metal stairs in the centre of the space will give way to a small square where cultural events, such as concerts or art shows, will be held. The customers will also be able to find digital directories with the stores, and there will be wireless internet throughout the space. A step has already been taken on the issue of environmental impact with the installation, earlier this year, of photovoltaic panels.

However, this is not just the focus of the new Brasília, which is also betting on younger generations. "We want the new generations to get to know Brasília, to come here, settle down, create their companies here, because this is a very interesting area", said Luís Pinho, the mall director, for Porto TV.

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