PROAPEstudos e Projectos de Arquitecura Paisagista, Lda is one of the architectural groups who make an effort to identify the nature of land. Since the establishment by Jo‹n Ferreira Nunes in 1989, the organization has worked mainly in the Mediterranean region including Spain and Italy, centering on Portugal for the past two decades. PROAP consists of a variety of professionals such as landscape planners, architects, designers and sculptors. All the members do their work under the basic principles of landscaping. In their work, therefore, all the components are in harmony on a site and create a natural and comfortable space.
The purpose of PROAP work is basically to conserve all the vestiges of the past that was made by humans and nature. The vestiges mean common and ordinary things such as streams, trees and paths, but they are invaluable because they are closely intertwined with people and store time and space. Architects create a landscape that demonstrates the nature and features of land by making most of those materials and minimizing their intervention not to damage those factors. At the same time, they design a space to restore a city that was isolated from reality and enrich people's lives by understanding the relations between nature, humans and cities and combining them in an appropriate manner on land.
The organization built three paths in "West Entrance Mondego's Green Park" in order to protect a convent from river inundation and to attract people from the left side of the river. This enabled a harmonious arrangement between the convent area and riverside space, and the systemic construction of pedestrian passage. In the long-standing construction of the "Requalification of Quinta da Alagoa", restoration and repair work was done to conserve past traces. During the process, architects utilized existing factors so that their work can be in harmony with the environment as a whole, not recognized as interference. Meanwhile, the institution sought ways to enable people to enjoy nature in the "Urban Park of S‹o Rom‹o", rather than just constructing several facilities. To that end, it placed stroll paths in parallel with the natural waterway that is the most important element in the park and arranged a space for relaxation.
In "OurŽm Linear Park" that is associated with a city profoundly, the groups of professionals linked the Parliament and a market by using the watercourse as a medium. Moreover, they created an active public space in the downtown to encourage activities among people. As a result, structure, function and sybolic meaning in urban areas were retrieved. In the "Masterplan for the riverside of Antwerp", which is as long as 6.5kilometers, they made most of the differences of water levels up to 5 meters in a day in their design. In other words, water that was once isolated from people was drawn to be part of a space for life and to constitute a constantly-changing dynamic scenery. Consequently, the riverside area became a popular public space with a ready access to people.
Likewise, PROAP recognized the complex land condition in "Oporto Waterfront", reflected such an understanding and embraced different functions such as cultural remains, a downtown park and a residential area within a site in an effective manner. Otherwise, those functions would have been difficult to coexist. In the end, the organization expanded the project to restore cultural districts to a regional level. The "Masterplan in Salonicco" in Thessalonik city (Greece) is not only to build an urban park but to redevelop the city into a large-scale cultural complex. They effectively compartmentalized the 360,000m2 site that had been divided by a road according to function and thus integrated nature, sports, culture, transportation and residence.
It is all the more complicated to create something in a place that is already filled with many things than to do in an empty space. PROAP, however, decodes the given situation and the nature of the problem, searches for ways to approach and creates natural landscape in cities. In this regard, their work can be said to be a result of respecting nature, humans and vestiges of the past.