Celebrating contrast

World-renowned architects travelled across the globe to create a contemporary development in the heart of Silves

Five Bridges Silves is a contemporary piece of architecture comprised of 20 duplex apartments. Each apartment is connected by ‘five bridges’ — cleverly integrated within the structure and extremely distinctive — through the access corridor to each unit.

In addition to the new, spacious apartments, there is also a commercial area on the ground floor with spaces that can be used as stores or restaurants, some of them boasting large basements.

The accommodation is separated by two floors.

The first floor comprises 10 apartments, while the second floor features another 10 with an ample roof terrace, some of which include a laundry area.

In contrast to the dark concrete that flows throughout, the inside has been carefully designed and provides great natural light. With the clever use of glass in each apartment, residents can enjoy modern and contemporary decoration whilst also enjoying magnificent views of Silves. Space is also ample as each flat also benefits from two parking spaces in the basement and private storage rooms.

The ground floor is dedicated to eight shops. These spaces are embellished with supporting pillars and large glass storefronts, which appear to be effortlessly supporting the apartments above. The vision for these shops is to welcome a variety of businesses by offering them an advantage that many premises in Silves do not have — parking. Five Bridges Silves is also within a five minutes’ walk from the historic town centre and its main attractions. Furthermore, the A22 is only a mere 4km away whilst some of the Algarve’s most stunning beaches are only 15km out.

The building has a horizontal architecture. This is fairly unique when considering a standard ‘block of flats’. Thanks to its visible concrete structure, the development emulates a brutalist and contemporary architectural style.

Contrasting with the traditional Moorish landscape often found in this part of the Algarve, one can appreciate two different landscapes from either side of the building: the city of Silves, with the castle as a backdrop, to the east, and the countryside, to the west. This distinctive architecture and contemporary style were designed by the multi-award-winning studio SPBR Arquitetos (São Paulo, Brazil).

SPBR, although only invited in 2008, had its project chosen to be the inaugural building of the development. As stated on their website: “An aspect that deserves to be highlighted in the architectural structure is the access scheme comprising several levels with ramps, stairs and corridors which accommodates for diversity whilst minimising the visual impact to its modernity and functionality.”

“I think this is a very original project, and there are not many projects with this type of architecture in the Algarve,” says João Nogueira of BIP real estate, the exclusive agency for this project. “The fact that it is in the middle of the city but with parking is great, as we all know how difficult is to park in Silves.” Prices start at €195,000 for the apartments and currently there is a “great investment opportunity on buy-to-rent”. Several plots of land are also available for construction of commerce and services and for ‘multi-family housing’ and a series of detached homes.

Although the project was appropriately named after the structure, it is somewhat poetic. Five Bridges Silves also builds a bridge for those who find pleasure in different parts of life. It offers something for everyone as it celebrates contrast by building the bridge between the new and the old, and the dark and the light.