In architecture the project of a house is usual. The realization of the project of the house of God may be rare if not unique in its time of existence. In this sense, receiving the invitation for the design contest of a church was an extraordinary challenge.
The new Church of Meinedo is inserted in a suburban area - a place of transition between the city and its surroundings. From the point of view of the implantation, the analysis of the place stands out, believing in the importance of the role that the Church will have in the consolidation of this evolving space, conferring urbanity and, above all, promoting an effective relationship with the population.
A program distributed in three different volumes of a single height is proposed, although the natural slope of the land is used to define a level of parking at the lower level. The three volumes are the church, the mortuary chapel and a third one that houses the rooms of catechesis, the secretariat, the attendance of the pastor and archives of administration, the sacristies, the multipurpose space, the museum hall and the storerooms.
It was decided to locate the parish complex on the side of the church street to move away clearly the new space of celebrations of the existing roundabout, creating a forest of oaks (in reference to the oak Mamré) that frames it at the same time as it protects, and the church then comes to assume a central role by defining a courtyard at the intermediate level that creates a recognizable entrance as the one leading to a sacred space. Inserted in this oak forest near the southern end of the plot, near the roundabout and access to the cemetery, the mortuary chapel was designed so that it had the necessary privacy. The volume that contains the rest of the program, around a cloister, refers to the pre-existing archetypes, such as the not vary distant Monastery of Paço de Sousa, in regard to the location of the cloister in relation to the Church. The access to this volume is marked by an expressive overhang and by the transparency of the gate, which reveals the cloister where all the activities are related in a sort of a square.
The relations establish between these elements define the previous space and the portal of the church, and at a distance the bell tower stands as an element of call in the urban-territorial context, but also of strong reference in the context of the cloister, pointing out its relation with the Chapel of the Santísimo and all the celebratory space.
In this way we sought to understand the precision of the liturgical system and the balance between the insertion in the and the surroundings and the recognition of the sacred building. The coherence between the form and function of the project will also be a valuable contribution to the construction of the sacred, according to a suitable co temporary language.
The geometry of the round shape allows us to use the volume of the church as a harmonious articulation between the three volumes and the difficult geometry in an adaptation to the topography, fulfilling the east-west orientation at the entrance to the altar that seems fundamental, being the altar the true focal point for the priest and assembly.
This form is not new and evokes, like the cloister, archetypes of the past like the Pantheon in Rome, or the church of San Anthony of Padua in Belgrade.
The morphology of the volumes and the composition of the spaces, with the particular configuration of the cover, define the symbolic dimension of the church and also try to move away from the geometry of the large-scale neighboring buildings, standing out in the landscape.