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Cork in the CCB: A Square in the Summer


100% natural and able to stimulate the senses, cork stood at the heart of the temporary installation, "A Square in the Summer", developed by the architect José Neves for the Centro Cultural de Belém (CCB).

For the project, which resulted from an invitation made by the South Garage, the CCB’s architecture programme, Amorim Isolamentos provided expanded cork agglomerate. The huge dark cork blocks contrasted with the limestone lining the building’s walls, and occupied the square, transforming the zone and inviting people to experience the installation at a sensory and material level.

The architect highlighted cork’s unique characteristics, in terms of thermal and acoustic insulation, as well as its texture, plasticity and lightness (which made it easy to handle the cork, even with large blocks).

This multifaceted construction created a playful zone, in which people could pass through or linger, an encounter between memory and fleeting experiences, chosen as the main stage of CCB's cultural programme during the summer months.

“Cork is an absolutely familiar material and, at the same time, is always surprising, with a great deal still to explore as a construction material. I believe that Daciano Costa was right when he said that one day somebody will come along and achieve with cork, in Portugal, what Alvar Aalto did with birch wood in Finland”.

- José Neves, architect