Vale do Côa
Art and Archeology Museum

culture , 6th Prize
Vila Nova de Foz Côa, Portugal

Vale do Côa
Art and Archeology Museum

Year – 2004 / 2005
Public Competition – 6st Prize
Client – Archaeological Institute of Portugal (I.P.A.)

Location – Vila Nova de Foz Côa, Portugal
GPS – 41°04'47.5"N 7°06'47.4"
Site Area / Area – 140.000 sq.m / 8.904 sq.m
Budget – 8.500.000,00 €

Partners – Albuquerque Goinhas, Augusto Marcelino, Cristina de Mendonça, Luís Baptista, Nuno Griff, Pedro Patrício, Sofia Antunes

Museology – Luis Pascoal, Silvana Bessone

Standing on a hillside on the northern side of the Foz Côa Archaeological Park, between the rivers Douro and Côa, the building arises as a monumental panoramic belvedere from an area that has experienced very little human intervention.

This visual and physical domain is nevertheless a paradox insofar as a museum is concerned because these such structures are usually closed in. This museum, however, is an exception as the collection does not exist inside, it is scattered throughout the landscape and the museum is, above all, an interpretative centre to guide visitors through the exhibitions.

Therefore, more than the construction of a closed building, the project sought to create a landmark, a “man made construction” that would be open to the surrounding scenery. It would aim to create a point from which to establish a position of control over the territory, seeking to achieve a harmony between the physical experience and the visual perception of the entire site.

The project explored the notions of limit, unity, marking and the domain of the territory in order to create a shelter. A ring configuration defines a platform over the landscape outlining and incorporating a piece of land in its interior, establishing two distances and two categories – landscape as scenery, and landscape as space.

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