Archive for the 'João Luis Carrilho da Graça' Category

Portalegre, Church of St. Anthony (1993-2008)

João Luis Carrilho da Graça

João Luis Carrilho da Graça designed the Church of St. Anthony for a suburban social district of his mother-town Portalegre. The white closeness of the large volume is neatly adjusted to the steep urban texture of the area; it forms an abstract opening to the mountain. The leaning of the walls of the southern block and the long extended entrance opening mark the main façade of the building. We can get into the spacious inner court here, then comes the sacral space of the church separated by a glass wall, and in the end a second court closes the sequence, being much more intimate and bordered by the ever existing element of the location, the cliffs emerging from the ground. The almost only glass surfaces of the homogenous, closed volume are the walls that separate the church from the two courts; and they provide a visual connection and transparency between the sequences of spaces linked to the same axis. The two courts are the main organizing elements of the building complex. The roomy entrance space is bordered by two supplementary social functions, the volume of the kindergarten and the care home. The court is not only the foreground of the certain buildings but an important scene of the events of the local community. The believer goes through a route starting from the busy city and arriving at the absorption in nature. The cliffs claiming permanence and timelessness, the clearness and power of the sunlight and the silkiness of the water pond make a perfect background for meditation. With the words of Carrilho da Graça: ‘The aim of the plan was the creation of a space where the persons and the events are the performers. The goal of architecture is the staging of minimum in the most intense way.’
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