MVRDV, LOLA & others appointed to envision a new future for a former refinery in Matosinhos, Portugal

Image Credit: @OODA

Galp Energia’s former Matosinhos refinery will turn into a green and innovative district with housing, a university campus, a large park, and various facilities. The part Portuguese and part international team consisting of MVRDV, OODA LOLA, Thornton Tomasetti, A400 and LiveWork will develop the large-scale urban renewal project. The starting points for the master plan are far-reaching greening, connection with the surroundings, and sustainability. Part of the industrial heritage will be given a new purpose, thus creating a bridge between the past and the future.

Image Credit: ©Walter Branco
Image Credit: ©Walter Branco

The Portuguese energy company, Galp Energia, has ambitions for a more sustainable future. Besides oil and gas, it is extracting more and more energy from sustainable sources. It is now one of the largest Iberian producers of solar energy. The refinery in Matosinhos near Porto, established in 1970 and important for the local economy, was decommissioned mid-2021. The intention now is to turn the site into an innovation district, making better use of its natural location, and preserving part of its industrial heritage.

Galp launched an international design competition for this large-scale transformation. The jury was advised by experts from Harvard University and the University of Porto. The winning design team, consisting of MVRDV, OODA and LOLA, will collaborate with renowned engineering firms Thornton Tomasetti, A400 and program advisor LiveWork. Around 25 urbanists, landscape architects and engineers from these six firms will develop the vision into a more detailed masterplan in the upcoming 12 months

Inserting green infrastructure and restoring the relationship with the surrounding dune landscape are important principles of the master plan. Before construction can begin, the refinery needs to be dismantled and the soil remediated. The Portuguese environmental agency APA expects this will take about four years. The new city will be developed in phases in close cooperation with the municipality of Matosinhos, the Commission for Coordination and Regional Development of the North (CCDR-N), and the University of Porto.

Image Credit: as captioned

About Damian Holmes 3233 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at