Goleto Medieval Pavilion is a second prize competition entry by Natalia Álvarez and Manuel Catalina promoted by StartForHistory in 2021. It is located in San Guglielmo al Goleto Italy in a mountain setting. Its scale is medium with a surface of 1.000 sqm. Key materials are wood and stone.

Creating a multifunctional pavilion as the new entrance to the Goleto abbey is a challenge. On one hand, it is necessary to participate in the atmosphere with a contemporary architecture capable of respect the environment. On the other hand, brand-new architecture aims to generate a meeting point for visitors, organize its own functional program and create a welcoming space.

Place and history

We were aware that part of the solution was already in the place. The abbey is closed to the outside by a wide stone wall. Once inside, visitors walk through a sequence of courtyards and other open spaces that lead to the church (currently is also a courtyard without roof). Passages between these spaces are always made through dark thresholds.


The approach is to continue with the logic of the abbey. We create a low basement building surrounded by a wall. The heart of the new volume is its courtyard, which becomes a must point in the visitors outdoor-indoor sequences of spaces. Strategic connections are created due to openings in the perimeter wall.

New medieval pavilion

We understand that the best place to locate the pavilion is the northern part of the plot where the building is closer to the abbey. The south part of the plot stays as a green entrance park. The existing row of trees welcomes the visitor, shows the starting point of the medieval route and the entrance to the new pavilion. Public space enters the building continuously, thanks to the sequence of outdoor-indoor spaces.


The heart of the new volume is its courtyard, which becomes a must point in the visitor’s route. The designed cloister continues with the essence of the place, becoming a contemporary patio where different parts of the program come together. The courtyard can be opened in summer, creating a continuous outdoor space throughout the pavilion.

Functional program

The program is placed around the patio. Entrance hall and reception are located on the south frame looking both at the inner courtyard and the existing outdoor park. The north frame hosts the educational workshop and the coffee. Auditorium and staff offices belong to the medieval stone wall which appears inside the spaces. On the other side the historical exhibition hall occupies the frame that dialogue with the existing row of trees. And finally, storage spaces and staff dressing areas are placed underground receiving natural light from the corner courtyard. The new walkable roof offers the experience of enjoying the medieval complex and the impressive surrounding views.


The proposal includes bare materials that dialogue with the existing ones. The exterior walls are made of cyclopean concrete using site rocks. The use of materials extracted from the area makes the building have a colour like the Abbey stone walls. The courtyard is generated by a structure of laminated wooden beams.

2917-UEL-IT-2021 — Posted in 2022 — Explore more projects on cultural pavilion and refurbishment — Climate: temperate and mediterranean — Coordinates: 40.905371, 15.144018 — Views: 3.165