Status: Competition (2017)
Location: Monsanto, Portugal
Coordinates: 40.036176, -7.112773
Climate: Mediterranean, Temperate
Materials: Concrete, Stone
Types: Chapel, Religious
As the ancient village was built between the granite boulders, typical of Monsanto’s natural landscape, the sanctuary recalls the tradition merging itself with two large boulders remarking, in this way, the entrance and part of the internal spaces. The whole building is conceived as a natural element of the place, which arises from the earth until the total merge with it. The external path that leads to the observation point is an exaltation of the preexisting elements: the passage under the arch of the St. John Chapel ruins allows visitors to come into contact with the history of the place while enjoying the great panoramic view of the surrounding landscape.
Formal and spiritual aspect
Every space has been created from the pure shape of the square, expression of the terrestrial element. In the “Inner Sanctum”, the circle was used as basic form in order to create the single opening in the middle of the rooftop and, in addition, to insert a water tank in the center of the room. Moreover, through the circular opening it is possible to establish a direct contact with the sky and it might permit the water to drop directly into the central tank, during the rainy periods. Thanks to the circle, symbol of perfection and divine, and to the use of water, the internal space of the sanctuary allows visitors to come into contact with an intimate place characterized by a solid sacredness. Finally, even in the history chamber, the natural light comes from above in order to keep alive the spiritual and introspective aspect.