Santo Tirso City Hall invited both Portuguese Pritzker Prizes, Álvaro Siza (1992) and Souto de Moura (2011), to solve two problems: the renewal of Abade Pedrosa Municipal Museum, located in a Benedictine monastery, and the creation of a Welcome Center for the open-air International Museum of Contemporary Sculpture.
The monastic austerity felt by the architects on the first visit – the last day of 2009 – came to be the motto for the monastery’s renewal and for the design of the new building.
The new Welcome Center was designed aside the Benedictine monastery, functioning as one entrance lobby for both programs, saving resources and allowing to reestablish the original symmetry of the main façade of the monastery. The museological project follows this concept: exhibition structures do also step aside from the walls, allowing a complete reading of the space.
This intervention is really a way of putting in dialogue different times and its testimonies. On one hand, the archaeological objects exhibited at Abade Pedrosa Museum are put in relation with the contemporary sculptures disseminated in the public space, which are, in turn, referenced in the Welcome Center.
On the other hand, Souto de Moura recovered the essence of the XVIII century building, that at the same time creates a connection with the new one, white, clean parallelepiped, designed by Álvaro Siza, only possible by the close collaboration that both architects developed along the years. After all, Eduardo Souto de Moura began his career working in Siza’s Office.
For more information www.cm-stirso.pt
Text and photos by Cultour
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