The complex history of the project and construction of the Palace of Queluz resulted in a present conformation that, on one hand, doesn’t reflect the original intent of its design nor, on the other hand, provides the architectural ensemble the opportunity of an urban experience that dignifies and values it.
Though the recreation of the original 1797 design could constitute an interesting project hypothesis (materializing an historic document of the seven hundreds’ urban and landscape design), this proposal concludes that such a solution wouldn’t translate itself into an efficient answer to the questions that the present configuration of the ensemble (fundamentally different from what was predicted by the original design) asks.
The arrival to the Palace directly from the IC19 highway through the Duarte Pacheco Avenue happens without any transitional moments or an announcement of the quality of the space that will rapidly present itself. The Palace emerges laterally when one already is, without realizing it, at the heart of the ensemble, banalizing it. The way the road is designed doesn’t promote more than the rapid abandonment of the space, characterizing it as a passage place as opposed to a destination (which is its natural vocation).
Being so, this project proposes to return the Palace Square and surrounding spaces to the city and its population, reinterpreting both the present configuration and the original intent of its design to provide the ensemble with a contemporary logic of use and enjoyment of the public spaces, supported by the original principals of order, clarity, proportion and symmetry, telling a story about the place and being able to survive to the passing of time.
The proposed intervention extends beyond the predefined limits and develops itself as an urban strategy that integrates the intervention site with its surroundings. It defines an hierarchization of urban spaces, drawing pathways and transitions, and it integrates itself on the built urban fabric of this notable piece that precedes it, allowing the Palace to take its natural place as a destination and an icon in the territory where it stands.
Finally, the barriers between the many elements of this ensemble are removed, permeabilizing its surfaces and extending green spaces and public spaces into a single system that integrates palace and city, in a permanent contrast between the beauty of the built heritage and the beauty of nature.
All in all, this proposal is about designing an experience of heritage, in a process of discovery and surprise that culminates in the presentation of a built ensamble of extreme quality, showing it in its best light and allowing for the enjoyment of all its parts.
It is also, more than anything, a design that finally returns the Palace of Queluz to the Nature that motivated it.