To make memory speak. This proposal is a frame from a previous story. It is an expression of a community and it’s faith, and it is an intention to bring it back to a place that has been suspended, expectant of a return. The Island awaits an extension of the story and the memory and significance that it holds: the images it creates, it’s way of living, the ambiance it envokes and the characters that build it- the traces of the invisible.
It’s morning, the mist still hangs in the air.
White sailcloths and colorful flowers lend color and life to the boats that take us in procession. The humming sound of the ocean waters and the sharp squawks of the seagulls fall into harmony with the chants and prayers heard since Porto Covo. It’s morning, but the warm August sun warms us.
We see the cross and the chimney of smoke that, like a beacon, guide us to our destination. We are at the peak of the high tide. It is at this time that the sea meets the new stone anchorage and that, for brief moments, the two merge as one. Here, in the natural harbor protected from wind and wave, we step ashore, following the paths of our ancestors – a human footprint of the ones who celebrated before us. We arrive at the old quarry, a huge-man made stone maze.
A crack in the stone invites us to enter, descending into the earth and bowing our heads at the short height, our eyes drawn to the irregular pavement.The shadow gets thick and heavy, a weight almost as tactile as the rough walls that surround us. We loose the sky.
There is a crackle. The air is heated, heavy and the scent of burned wood calls us in. The light comes in, breaking in our field of vision. The cealing rises abruptly and blazes of light coming from a fire enframe an image of the Saint.
We approach the hot flame and take a seat while watching the spectacle. Moments later, lost in thought and mesmerized, the light from an opening above brings clarity and reminds us of our purpose. We light up a candle with the fire that is already burning, and we return it to the logs that feed the fireplace.
The image, casted in iron, doesn’t burn, and we pray that by Her, our faith, hopes and dreams may also be renewed by fire every year.
architects: Maria Morais, Duarte Seabra Alves | client: ArkXsite | status: Competition (2019) | location: Porto Covo, Portugal (37.834112,-8.797222) | climate: Mediterranean, Temperate | material: stone | environment: Seaside | visualizer: Studio | scale: 15 m2 extrasmall | types: chapel, religious | views: 2.115