A hundred old railway stations that have been closed down in recent decades, are in need of rehabilitation and new life to stimulate social and economic dynamics in a significant part of the territory.
The NEW WAYS initiative, funded by EEA Grants, brings together Portuguese and Norwegian faculties of architecture to study new uses, sustainable and strategic proposals for this vast cultural heritage, in many cases scattered and isolated.
In December 2019, the Serra Henriques Foundation (FSH) signed an agreement with Infrastructures de Portugal Património (IPP) for the elaboration of intervention proposals in deactivated railway stations, mostly buildings of historical and cultural interest. IPP trusted FSH the cooperation with the faculties of architecture and national and international partners, to study sustainable and strategic solutions.
The NEWWAYS initiative brings together FSH and IPP with the partners of BAS (Bergen Architecture School) and ISCTE to form a single study group capable of proposing new uses for the deactivated railway stations and surrounding areas.
The Norwegian partners have extensive experience in similar challenges and in nature tourism, representing a fundamental knowledge for studying the reactivation of this isolated heritage once connected by the railway lines between stations.
The Portuguese partners are already studying the introduction of this real challenge in the curricula of their architecture students, thus opening the possibility for other architecture schools to do the same.
The expected results are proposals capable of attracting the support of local authorities and the interest of investors who can implement the partial or total rehabilitation of this heritage. The intervention on these buildings represents a contribution to the development of peripheral and desert territories, seeking to mitigate social and economic disparities in the country.