César Machado Moreira (Centro de Estudos Arnaldo Araújo)
The Five Residential Settlements Built by HICA
With the exception of some individual buildings, the areas of residential housing constructed by the Cávado Hydroelectric Company (Hidroeléctrica do Cávado, or HICA) were not included in the debate on housing that was taking place at the time of their building, and later on were not considered worthy of any special attention. Despite their creation having been of fundamental importance to the construction and maintenance of the infrastructure of the Cávado hydroelectric scheme, from an architectural point of view these settlements only became well-known for being the location of four buildings that were designed by the architect Januário Godinho: three Pousadas and a restaurant. The participation of Godinho in the plans for the housing settlements was erratic; he collaborated on the selection of some of the fundamental characteristics of the buildings, without leaving detectable marks of his presence or a feeling of clear and defined transformation of the preliminary drawings into the finished construction. The housing settlements were the result of a merging of the expectations of management, the bureaucratic systems of the technical services department and the needs dictated by the circumstances that were encountered as the work progressed. In other words, the hydroelectric development of the Cávado was the reason for the implantation in that location of an urban structure that had been designed and produced in a technical services department based in Porto.