Co-author: falcão de campos
Photos: Duccio Malagamba
Rehabilitation of the surroundings of the Santa Maria de Alcobaça Monastery
The morphology of the City of Alcobaça is inseparable of the Cistercian Abbey’s genesis around the XII century. The territory was shaped after the abbey’s location and foundation at the cross of the two existent rivers: the Alcôa and the Baça rivers. Throughout the centuries and several modifications on the Abbey, it continued to determine the city’s development in its surroundings.
The architectural design aimed to promote and encourage a contemporary relationship of complementariness and harmony between the City and the Monastery, once the area of intervention implies three different elements all linked to the abbey’s history and, consequently, to the city’s own development: the South wing of the Monastery (converted into a Museum) and the barn; the public main square and the adjacent side square and streets; and, finally, the area of the confluence of the two rivers Alcôa and Baça (including a support building of a cafe).
Celebrating the water and sensing the presence of the rivers is decisive in this context, whereas the project restores the inclination of the square, and creating a surface gutters network both enhance and display the draining of the water running to the river (a system known and used by the monks). A gutter for running water reveals the alignment of the Church with the Castle and the presence of the river Baça.