Best Sustainable Project
Winner: Tiago do Vale Architectos, Portugal
The Dovecote- Granary, Ponte de Lima, Portugal
Image Credit: João Morgado
‘There’s a sophisticated subtlety in the integration of timber construction and granite into the treetops’’ Ole Scheeren
Originally built in the late 19th century, the Dovecote-Granary’s starting point was two traditional maize granaries standing over granite bases. A common roof united them, under which there was a dovecote. The space between the two granaries was used to dry cereals, with two large basculating panels controlling the ventilation. Built out of oak and poorly maintained, the structure decayed over time until it was unsalvageable. The rotten wood pieces, nevertheless, allowed for the full documentation of the design and constructive techniques of the original building, enabling a piece-by-piece reconstruction.
With farming no longer taking place on the property, the rebuilt Dovecote-Granary will not serve its original functions. Neither will it have a specific use; the architect envisages that ‘it will be what the nature of the space lends itself to be,’ giving the building flexibility and adaptability. The transformative reconstruction project encompassed an intricate redesign of all the subtle carpentry details and a limited series of surgical-like interventions that allows for the structure’s safe and renewed use. Two new foldable wooden sets of steps lead inside both granaries and an interior staircase rises to the dovecote, making that space accessible at last.
The project was conceived as an exercise to show that such historic structures — which are rapidly disappearing and oft-undervalued — can produce high-quality spatial experiences while maintaining a living built document of a particular vernacular architecture, using local resources, local artisans and local knowledge.
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Category sponsored by: The bold look of Kohler