The project is established near the castle of Monsanto, a symbol of the splendour templars. In this atypical place, the human occupation dates from the Palaeolithic and the medieval era and leaves its aura when one navigates over the mountain.
In this precipitous environment stands shelters, small houses of stones, which, while playing with the topography of the site, draw a multitude of alleys that come to touch at moments, imposing rocks whose presence cannot leave indifferent.
These enormous stones, in balance, posed as if by magic, compose the very essence of this corner of Portugal, where time seems to have stopped.
Outside the walls are the ruins of two churches, both facing east and the rising sun. The sanctuary is established as one of these ruins, by filling a certain void, and by establishing a dialogue between these ruins and the fortress.
This place of history and introspection, amid strange silhouettes, is intended as a place that enchants and transgresses the beauty of the elements already presented, and symbolizing the sturdiness of the millennial stones. Dialogue between rational constructions and geological forms is the founding element of the project. This pure monolithic set up on a pan of propitious topography, sees within it the emergence of three curved elements, real tectonic pieces, which draw the void of the sacred space. It penetrates through a vault that divides the facade of the building, to be amazed by the play of shadows and lights that penetrate the project, sliding over the curves of the left shapes, reveal the power and strength of the place, or even taking a look at the landscape and the distant horizon.
After having traversed the interior of the masses, where orthogonal geometry welcomes the more 'conventional' functions, time is meditation
This project designs a building with a sensuous connection to life that goes far beyond form and construction. The space evokes a sombre and reflective character. A mystical and intimate interior that invites reflection is masked by a very rigid rectangular exterior. The building has a beautiful silence that is associated with attributes such as composure, self-evidence, durability, presence, and integrity, and with warmth and sensuality as well. The project has the ability to condense in one single object the site geological qualities inside the volume and the ruins monumental qualities outside it.
The design is shaped with simple geometries and exists like an inseparable part of the site. Natural light flows into the interior space elegantly, which evokes the instinctively tranquil emotions in any person staying inside. There the stories are told inside the stillness of the stones.
Again simplicity and silence. Admiration for light and contrast, two beautiful aspirations.