Studying Pessegueiro Island drew our attention to its great cultural heritage and historical significance. The remains of the 'Santo Alberto' Fort together with the Roman archaeological remains are distinctive attributes within this setting; the enigmatic space of the quarry is also a significant landmark.
The idea for an intervention located within such a spectacular place is to respect and celebrates the site and the existing ruins while providing visitors with a unique experience. The Site Chapel offers a reflective journey and contemplative walk through memory, time and silence.
Space, place and memory
Only the existing structures that remain are a respectful dialogue with the past that will be able to survive the passage of time.
Our approach aims to integrate the old quarry space as part of the contemplation experience. Visitors can appropriate this anonymous 'labyrinth' and transform it into a significant part of the reflective journey.
Tactility (stone, water and light)
When moving through spaces our senses are evoked by our personal experiences which in turn has an emotive reaction within us.
The existing materials from the island have their own language. The stone tells us about its geological origin, durability and its inherent permanence. The Site Chapel intends to use the existing stone on the island to create the new elements. The Chapel also intends to introduce water into the scheme. As water accentuates the sound and silence experiences. It can evoke thoughts like birth, death, femininity and masculinity or beauty and its threat.
The narrow slots in the Chapel force the sunlight to transform into thin directional elements which contrast with the relatively dark spaces inside.
We defend the light as the 'intangible' material.
The light is transformed into a warm coloured liquid which is able to suggest sound qualities which could be perceived as an imaginary buzz.
In this sense, the 'labyrinth' structure together with the Chapel evoke a multi-sensory feeling which intensifies the visitor's experience about the setting.
Architecture as an experience
The scale, materiality, illumination, temperature, humidity, sound, wind, colour, and the smell constitute jointly the experience. Our intervention is the result of a collaboration between new and existing old structures.
All together the Site Chapel is presented as a 'frame' which helps the visitors to perceive the world's horizons of understanding, and how to confront their own existence.