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Church of Senhora da Boa Nova
Roseta Vaz Monteiro Arquitectos

May 02, 2011 /

Estoril, Portugal

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Photo: Joao Morgado

The site, one of the city's last slums, was named the "End of the World." To the east and south the suburban surroundings had no iconic references, to the west there was a steep valley reaching out to distant views.

In order to rescue the site from its decade long negative stigma the community challenged the architects to create a new identity.

Since the anonymous surroundings offered no interesting references the architects decided to design the church tower as an iconic reference within the existing cityscape.

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Photo: Joao Morgado
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Photo: Joao Morgado
The multifunctional program, the church, a community center, a primary school and an auditorium, is organized around a courtyard, open to the valley and views, that relates to the city's existing public spaces.

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Photo: Joao Morgado
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Photo: Joao Morgado
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Photo: Joao Morgado
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Photo: Joao Morgado

We believe designing sacred space should revolve around the ability to state the supremacy of the Void. Throughout the project's development, the key conceptual elements were two empty spaces: the courtyard, a place where the community could meet; and the nave, a sacred space presenting that which could not be presented. We wished the nave to be an introspective, infinite, and irrepresentable space. In order to achieve this, we followed creative paths suggested by the works of Bernini, Piranesi and Rachel Whiteread.

/Roseta Vaz Monteiro Arquitectos


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Photo: Joao Morgado
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Photo: Joao Morgado
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Photo: Joao Morgado
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Photo: Joao Morgado
Today, the church stands within an elliptical plan, providing a dynamic sense of scale, and covered by an interior dome, eliminating the wall/ceiling division and spatial references within. The windows are deep, bringing indirect natural lighting into the nave and distancing the suburban surroundings, and the exterior walls curve to present an anthropomorphic object holding within the limited, infinite, and irrepresentable Void.

The "End of the World" is now known as "Senhora da Boa Nova" (or Our Lady of the "Good News").

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Sketch courtesy Roseta Vaz Monteiro Arquitectos

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Sketch courtesy Roseta Vaz Monteiro Arquitectos

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Drawing courtesy Roseta Vaz Monteiro ArquitectosSite Plan


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Drawing courtesy Roseta Vaz Monteiro ArquitectosNorth Elevation


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Drawing courtesy Roseta Vaz Monteiro ArquitectosWest Elevation


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Drawing courtesy Roseta Vaz Monteiro ArquitectosEast Elevation


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Drawing courtesy Roseta Vaz Monteiro ArquitectosSouth Elevation

Facts about Church of Senhora da Boa Nova

Site area:

14,500 m2
Total area buildings: 12,000 m2

Architects:
Roseta Vaz Monteiro Arquitectos
Filipa Roseta & Francisco Vaz Monteiro

Collaborators:

Maria Inês Fontoura
Bruno Almeida
Patrícia Duarte
Inês Canas
Margarida Mendes

Structural Engineer:

J.L.Câncio Martins

Water Systems:

Ductos

Mechanical and Electrical Systems:

Joule

Acoustic:

Acústica e Ambiente;

Landscape Architecture:

Roseta Vaz Monteiro Arquitectos

Photographed by: Joao Morgado

Client:

Centro Paroquial do Estoril

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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