The sense of the place
The exceptionality of the Cromeleque dos Almendres site goes beyond its location, dimension or antiquity. Its value lies in the fact that from its dominant position in the Alentejano wasteland, it establishes a double dialogue with the territory. By land, it is a remarkable point of an strategic linking system with other megalithic monuments in the Evora region. With the sky, by a cosmic connexion, the stones are erected to celebrate the diary movement of the sun and the moon, which was an enigmatic phenomena in the past. These relations configure a geometrical layout that determines the place and gives the symbolic sense to our intervention.

The project
Recognizing these territorial and cosmic symbolisms, the program of the Site visitor centre is decomposed in three volumes adapted to the topography, semi-excavated in the ground and located to emphasize three main cosmic axis: the north (the reception space), the summer solstice (+24º) and the winter solstice (-24º). The new buildings generate the minimum presence in the landscape enhancing the stone’s circle as the main space in the site. At the Almendres arrival, especially in one of the solstices, the visitor will be initiated in the mysterious megalithic Evora tour comprehension.

The architecture
The menhirs’ circle acts as a functional hall between buildings linking different activities of the program. Each volume is a contemporary expression of the stone resources used by primitive humans to build sacred monuments. It is proposed a vernacular space configured by superimposed concrete walls and roof pieces. The materiality is irregular and rough. Between the stones it is enhanced the penetration of  the light through slits and interstices. Once the visitor gets into de indoor space, he will be surprised by the secret mysticism that means the control of dark and light.

Lema: Cosmic Stones

Proyecto: Site Visitor Center Cromeleque dos Almendres

Ubicación: Évora, Portugal.

Fecha: February 2016

Categoría: Architecture

Organización: Arkxsite, architecture competitions