An international, one-stage architecture competition was recently held by Arkxsite with the purpose of developing compelling ideias for a contemporary museum located within the Castle of Montemor-o-Novo in Portugal. Placed on the top of a hill, 291m above sea level, not only it rules over a breathtaking view but also documents a continuous history from the Roman Period to the 18th century.
Citing the competition brief, “the Castle of Montemor-o-Novo is a significant landmark on a prominent landscape, a place of great cultural heritage and historical significance with characteristics that must be preserved.
When generating a vision for an intervention located within such a remarkable place, it is essential that each proposal emphasizes, respects and celebrates the site and existing ruins within this spectacular landscape, providing visitors a unique experience”.
Tiago do Vale Architects’ design for the Site Museum is motivated by three particular circumstances of its context: the unique character of the place, the museum’s theme and the size and features of its program.
Sharing an amazing and bucolic view over the Alentejo expanses with the ruins of the Montemor-o-novo castle, the site allows for an unparalleled relationship between architecture, landscape, history and built pre-existences.
Both the fact that the place is the theme of the Museum and the flexibility its program enabled the opportunity to propose a Museum that breaks with some of the usual paradigms of such a project.
Establishing a conversation with history and ruins, the museum was designed as if it reconstructed a part of the missing wall but assuming, at the same time, with it’s golden shimmer floating over a water mirror, that this is not just a reconstruction but a juxtaposition between historic pre-existences and an oneiric idea that dialogues with them.
Breaking with the norm of inclosed exhibition spaces, the design proposes to allow the place to foray into the exhibition, placing landscape and museological pieces side by side.
In the same line of thought, breaking with a traditional compartmentalized approach, this project suggests placing all the public aspects of the program on a same, continuous space, encompassed by the museological route, allowing each part of the museum to animate it as a whole, enlivening the visitor’s experience.
Without questioning that general approach, the Museum’s bar, gift-shop and auditorium have their own independent access, allowing them to function equally with autonomy from the exhibition spaces.
ARCHITECTURE: Tiago do Vale Architects, Portugal
PROJECT TEAM: Tiago do Vale, María Cainzos Osinde, Hugo Quintela
LOCATION: Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal
COMPETITION: Site Museum (International Architecture Competition)
PROJECT YEAR: 2015
CONSTRUCTION AREA: 1250 m2