River Port Cais do Cavaco


2020 - 2023


Portugal, Vila Nova de Gaia




Before reaching the Atlantic at Foz, the Douro River flows by the cities of Porto and Gaia.

Along this stretch, the quays are, or were, docks for the boats that transported people and, especially, goods.

These are calm waters that form a natural harbour. Sometimes the River rises, and it rises into the two cities, doubling its width.

But the cities also grow out into the River, reclaiming area for docks, for loading and unloading. But also, for the construction of buildings. Mostly buildings that are connected to port activities and the transportation of goods. The best example of this is the majestic Custom House.

Nowadays, goods are no longer shipped along these quays. Different boats, different logistics, dictate the search for alternative ports.

The transport of people, tourists, has taken over from the transportation of goods.

This tourist transport has increased greatly and the traditional Quay at Gaia now accommodates a large number of Douro River cruise boats, and the resulting pressure on the urban fabric is difficult to manage.

Cavaco Quay, previously a loading area for oil industry supplies, is located mid-way between the neighbourhoods of Ribeiras and Foz, and this location was chosen by APDL for the construction of a new Docking Station, for embarkation and disembarkation of foot passengers taking cruises on the River Douro.

The alignment of the quay will be redefined, so as to accommodated access for both cars and heavy vehicles.

The Port Building will be set on a concrete slab, a Quay, which in turn is supported on concrete posts. An Engineering matter, to ensure the least impact on the currents and tides that determine all the banks of the Douro.

The building is defined by its function.

The Port Building will allow passengers to board and disembark in comfort and safety.

Given the seasonality of the activity, it is planned that the Building will be able to transform itself, in order to house cultural activities, both during and outside of the times

of greatest tourist influx.

On the upper level, a restaurant will be open all year round, allowing visitors to enjoy the beautiful view of Porto.

Above a solid concrete base, the building will be almost all red brick and steel framed glazing.

This choice of materials is aimed at creating a low maintenance and durable Building.

The manoeuvres of the boats on the water and the movement of passengers and goods on land will bring life back to an area which is currently just a route, connecting the neighbourhoods of Ribeira de Gaia and Afurada.

Generous like the Wine, the Douro River will be an ambassador for cultural exchange.

+ -




Architects: Álvaro Siza + Carlos Castanheira

Office: CC&CB, Architects, Lda.


Project Coordinator:

Pedro Carvalho

Project Team:

Fernanda Sá,

Nuno Campos,

Inês Cabrita,

Raquel Fortuna,

Susana Oliveira,

Joana Soeiro,

Mário Palladino

Renata Monteiro


3D models and renderings:

Germano Vieira

Construction Area:

8 577 m2