Right from the outset, the site instilled us with a clear intention: to work with the place, the landscape and both the nearby context – the hill fort – and the faraway context – the landscape provided by the vineyards of vinho verde. It became imperative that the piece claimed, in some way, that ancestry of man's occupation of the territory in its architectural, productive and symbolic evolution. Man has always felt the need to punctuate the horizon and mark his territory using menhirs, crosses or towers. This piece is a contemporary reinterpretation of that intention. The circle allied to verticality can be seen from afar, integrated in its surroundings by its external shape and color. Only in the walk can one experience this revelation of the interior, vibrant, open to the sky, full of light, and ending with a climb to the top between the vineyard landscape, the valleys and the mountains of Monção. The piece has a tubular shape, erect, made up of prefabricated modular concrete rings, allowing its contemplation from the outside and its experience from the inside. At a constructive and iconographic level, the intention was to establish a formal connection with these hill fort constructions – which are round– placed, more often than not, in high places in the landscape. In its symbolic dimension, this form seeks to establish a connection between earthly and spiritual elements. The circle is the “total” form – without beginning or end – and, thus, is associated with eternity and the divine; it is a symbol of heaven in its connection to earth, and therefore it reflects the link between the spiritual and the material realms.
About the place:
Longos Vales is a parish in the municipality of Monção, district of Viana do Castelo, located on the left bank of the Minho River. The São Caetano hill fort is an archaeological site discovered in Outeiro, on a hill with the same name. It offers a wide view of the Minho River valley and the wine landscape. It is thus an important fortified settlement, and one of the core areas of the great proto-historic villages that exist in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. It was classified as a National Monument. The village was implemented in an almost circular small plateau and in the mid-eighteenth century the Chapel of São Caetano was built, in the northern top. There is a cross stone in one of its highest points, from which we can see the entire valley up to the Minho river, the hill fort that develops across the hill, the housing structures and the chapel. As the hill fort is one of the first human settlements in Monção, the visitor is able to experience the ancestry of man's occupation of the territory of Monção and the evolution of the landscape over time.