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CA Bank by Marques Franco Arquitectos




Architect: João Marques Franco
Area: 803,55m2
Photography: Primeiro Plano Audiovisual
Year: 2020

Design Team: Marques Franco Arquitectos
Engineering Studies: Carlos Silva
General Building Company: Carlos José Fernandes
Client: Banco Crédito Agrícola Noroeste

The bank is located on the verge of an urban transition. On one side the historic center of Paredes de Coura, a beautiful village on the northwestern part of Portugal, on the other an array of buildings from the 80’s and 90’s, tragic decades for Portuguese urban landscape as the need for an architect was optional and, in many cases, unwanted.

How can you help bridge that gap? Will you try to stand out? Should this new building disappear? Maybe both.

The bank wanted a sign of transparency, an invitation to enter, to that end all of the ground level is glass, you can see everything from the square, in such a small community that is especially important, if you want to speak to your account manager all you have to do is pass by and wave. One the other end a bank should feel safe, vault like, so the first level is solid and windowless, elevated, out of reach.

The curve tries to sow some sort of connection between the two cities, and it’s painted in white. What else can you choose if you are between small and colorful 19th century architecture and the ‘build all you want in fake marble’ craze of the 90’s?

Maybe that’s an excuse or lack of courage. Maybe it’s my inability to pick a color. I’m fine with that.

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Or maybe I wanted the building to stand out after all. Can a plain white building do that?