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  • Beta Architecture
    studio specialized in
    unbuilt architecture

Our work.
Collection.
  • Museum in the Second Line of Defense of Juromenha
  • Team . Alexandre Vicente
  • Status . Academic Project (2012)

In the southeast of the Portugal, where the Alentejo is outlined through the Guadiana River we can find the village Juromenha. This village, before a area of tension, stronghold of a vast defensive system of support to Evora and to give defense to Lisbon, it dissipates today as a quiet sentinel of time and landscape.

It lies in a reference, a fortress and its plans of expansion, specially in the project of author Major Brandão de Sousa in December of 1817. Portugal lived, like all Europe, a period of social tension generated by english government. In the Alentejo outline, the condition of Olivença nationality was still a pending situation. As and answer to this condition and to the scarce available means in the Stronghold of Juromenha, Major Brandão de Sousa elaborates a project to the Provisory Line  of Works in the style of entrenched battle field that was supposed to add to the Hold to increase its strength. It would provide in this way to Juromenha a bigger capacity to respond to the not solved situation in Olivença. The tectonic of this project would be the same as military architecture of the South Iberia Peninsula, durable so that posteriorly it would allow the addition of stone, solidifying the line of defense.

This work intends to reflect the many aspects of the condition of limit, frontier and vigilance, searching to praise the landscape as a place of contemplation, instability and change. The proposal intends not only to give value to this idea of retrospection about the concept of landscape, bt also to create something that the very place would be identified.

There is a formation as construction of landscape in the territory, starting from the characterization of instability and stability moments. The stability in the human action of the Guadiana River by intermediate of the Alqueva Dam opposing to the own instability of the land. Opposing the instability with the plantation of trees tracing not only spatial planes, for who from the towers watches over, but also generating spaces of arrival and landscape also.

The project consists in the implantation of seven towers in the trace of the 1817 project of the Major Brandão de Sousa, defined only by a limit, constituting a landscape. That landscape intends to redefine itself through the allocation of towers, points that take us to a possibility of memory for the old permanencies. The project builds a no-object, it builds a place, a territory.

The matter is reinforced concrete, without finishing or any type of treatment; the material is an analogy to the old military tectonic, the stone character of the strongholds.

It is also a view on what is the space of a museum. each point is only a tower, with anonymous entrance, silent elevations and in its interior space. The towers as pieces in the landscape draw a frontier to who visit them and observe from its top.

In their interior they are understood as caverns, it is as such because a cavern is the most natural that architecture can achieve. The interior space divisions are not separated in a conventional way for this type of program, they create themselves from the absence of matter and from the subtraction of its voids, the excavation of the piece itself. In its interior we can have the perception of dark spaces that create voids, only in this way we understand the space as it is, a emptiness where light escapes. This space is only understood trough a zenithal illumination.

Each tower is singular, its interior a experience of its own.

Landscape Concept

In our daily lives, we observe many phenomenon that refer us to many systems that at the same time can look contradictory. Landscape is one of those groups of situations; it refer us to an environment that identifies a place. Emanated from the idea of Norberg-Schulz, there exists a formation as construction of landscape and territory, starting also from its characterization as moments of instability and stability. The stabilities of human action in the Guadiana River, by means of the Alqueva Dam opposing to the unstable and rough morphology; described in the territorial studies of the hydrographic and geomorphologic studies. Instability is oposed by the plantation of vegetation and trees, tracing not only spatial planes, for who from the towers observe, but also generating spaces of arrival and also landscape.