Civil Engineering 2003

Avenida Marginal viaduct from Porto City Park
Engº João Pires da Fonseca

Further information

The 2003 Award honoured a work commissioned by the City of Porto designed to provide access from Porto City Park to the Avenida Marginal.

It is a viaduct over the access to the beach and the sea from the Porto City Park, shared by traffic on four carriageways, two metro lines and a walkway for pedestrians.

João António Saraiva Pires da Fonseca was born in 1959 in the city of Guarda. He attended the Vermiosa primary school, where his mother was his first teacher. Early on, he showed a propensity towards engineering, with mechanics being perhaps his preferred area, as he learned how to hand-build small structures in “Meccano”. In the end, though, he decided on civil engineering.

He attended the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Porto, from where he obtained a degree in Civil Engineering in 1982, with the classification of 18/20 and a Master’s degree in Structural Engineering in 1986.
After completing his degree he began working on engineering projects with his former teacher Eng. Amaro da Costa, in ENCIL. He was an assistant lecturer at FEUP for several years and wrote a master’s thesis on the subject of “Visco-Elasto-Plastic Analysis of Stress-Plane Conditions and Strain-Plane Conditions”, guided by Prof. Lúcia Dinis.
In 1987 he decided to do a doctoral thesis abroad. The name of his future supervisor was suggested to him by Prof. Ferry Borges in a brief encounter at LNEC, and this had a great impact on his ensuing career. Professor Joaquim Sarmento supported his decision to go to Stuttgart, in Germany.
The following years were dedicated to researching structures by the strut and tie method, with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Schlaich, at the former “Institut für Massivbau”.
He returned to FEUP in 1992 and went back to Stuttgart for his PhD examination in 1995, which he concluded with a classification of very good with distinction. The topic of the thesis was “Zum Bemessen und Konstruieren Stahlbetonplatten von und mit -scheiben Lastpfaden” (On the sizing and design of reinforced concrete slabs and walls with the load path).
He was Assistant Professor at FEUP (Structures Office) until 2000, the year he decided to start teaching at the University of Beira Interior. He is responsible for the Structures and Pre-stressed Concrete modules.
As a civil engineer, he has maintained an intensive activity in designs for foundations and structures within ENCIL, which include the following works:

  • 1983 – Radar Tower and ancillary buildings at Lisbon Airport
  • 1984 – Latin Chapel at the Headquaters of the Blue Army in Fátima
  • 1985 – Hotel Marina D. Pedro in Vilamoura
  • 1987 – A.I.P. Multipurpose Pavilion in Lisbon – Expansion of F.I.L.
  • 1994 – TV tower in Vila Nova de Gaia – Metal platforms and structures
  • 1995 – Viaduct over Ribeira da Granja on the A3 Porto-Valença motorway
  • 1997 – Cais das Pedras Viaduct in Massarelos – Porto
  • 1998 – Access ramp to Norteshopping in Matosinhos
  • 1998 – Pedestrian bridge at the Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto.
  • 1999 – Avenida Marginal viaduct at Porto City Park
  • 1999 – Car park at Praça Gonçalves Zarco – Porto
  • 2000 – Edifício Transparente on Avenida Marginal at Porto City Park
  • 2001 – Upgrading of Avenida de Montevideu in Porto
  • 2001 – Viaducts over the Alqueva Dam
  • 2001 – Auditorium roof at Sheraton Hotel in Porto
  • 2002 – Pedestrian bridge at Paredes railway station

There are also more than a hundred designs for the application of prestressing in bridges, viaducts and buildings.

228m long and 16m wide, with internal spans of 30m

Materials: White Structural Concrete

Approximate Cost: 1.750.000,00 Euros

Foundations and Structural Design: Eng. João António Saraiva Pires da Fonseca

ENCIL Projetos e Estudos de Engenharia Civil, Lda.

With the collaboration of Civil Engineers António Alpuim, João Cunha, Guilhermino Freixo, Carlos Pita (†), Carlos Rebelo and Pedro Santos.

Urban Planning and Architectural Design:

Arquiteto: Architect Manuel de Solà-Morales

Client: Porto City Council – Porto 2001 S.A. European Capital of Culture

Main Contractor: Construtora do Tâmega, S.A.

Management and Supervision: Kaiser/Cinclus, G.O.C.

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