Águeda Arts Centre was carried out in the peak of the financial crisis in Portugal, requiring a new strategic practice and an extra effort made by all the designers, engineers and specialities involved in the making. The challenge was clear: achieve the best possible solution with a limited budget, with the aim of creating a public relevant infrastructure, without losing quality and consistency, one that could promote culture, engage with the citizens, attract new public and elevate the city through its cultural relevance, creating shock waves beyond the building physical body.

On this set basis, the project and construction of CAA symbolized a new paradigm of resistance, a new way to be in architecture, a new mindset, a wider understanding of context, a new posture facing conjectural difficulties, embedding the will to overcome political and economical constrains, reflecting a change in the architect role, not only as a designer, but as creative manager, embracing a wide range of concerns, not only related to the design itself, but also regarding all the variables of cost control, program feasibility, the defence of public interests, the defence of the present and future integrity of the building, also the defence of professional integrity and, not least, the management of expectations.

Today, CAA represents a kind of a (not that small) miracle, result of an era of difficulties that led to the reinvention of the praxis itself, embodied in a building that, in the end, fully responds and goes beyond all the ambitions it set out to fulfil.


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