The Alto Tâmega Tourism Info Point, open since september 2020, is the result of a public competition organized by the Intermunicipal Community of Alto Tâmega (CIMAT) that aimed for a Tourism Info Point that represented each of the six municipalities that compose it (Boticas, Chaves, Montalegre, Ribeira de Pena, Valpaços and Vila Pouca de Aguiar).
Set in the Tabolado Garden, in Chaves, the building with approximately 100 sqm, with a circular plan, is built using a structural base of timber pillars and beams over a concrete slab and is completely covered in timber battens. The circular timber building relates to its natural surroundings, bringing to its core concept the image that this region represents.
The simplicity of the program mirrors itself in the shape of the building, resulting in clarity of functions and a clear reading of the touristic contents. The circle-shaped plan is drawn as a natural consequence, answering both the practical (the visitor’s path and the even display on information) and the formal issues, a building that is both related to the urban and natural landscape of its setting. The spaces are organized along one main axis that starts with an outdoor covered space, the first contact with the program. When entering, the program opens itself in a single open-space room, capable of receiving many visitors simultaneously. The technical areas and toilets are hidden in wall thickness. The visit ends with an open view over a symbolic reflecting pool that evokes the Tâmega River that identifies this region and the fact that Chaves is one of the most important thermal areas in Portugal.
The technical and building choices aim to answer the rigorous sustainability and durability principles: the solar orientation of the main room, location and shading of the windows, double glazed wood window frames, solar panels, zinc roof, water reuse, the use o high levels of insulation and the preferential use of wood both as structure and façade. All of these make this building a reference in sustainability.
The choice of wood as the main material throughout the building reflects the values and symbols of a region in which nature is the main attraction.