The project has presented a set of simplified elements, all expressed
and embedded at the ground level, privileging the relationship with the
monastery (visual and volumetric). The design was the result of the usual
walking and crossing patterns between the surrounding places and streets
(maintaining the crossing flows but also creating opportunities to stop).
In the center an empty space (the public square) was created through an
oval shape with a larger and a closer area, providing different appropriations
and usage of space. Additionally, to avoid specific urban furniture and
its consequent rigid use and place definition, the entire perimeter was
made by using a continuous concrete bench. This allows people to sit anywhere
they wish, facing the square or the green areas, and the 80cm width of
the bench enable people to lie down or stretch their arms back.
The monument to the soldiers of Portuguese Colonial War was integrated in the design of the square by using two elements: 1. In the pavement the scaled borders of the countries involved, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, were designed and cut out; 2. A corten steel plate runs diagonally along the square with all the collected soldier numbers carved on it. The numbers are ordered according to date following the war until it reaches its end, in 1974.
This approach liberates the square space. The monument is visible, but detached from its rigidity and authoritative presence. No physical boundary or hierarchy was established between the public space and the monument. It is at the same time a place to play, a place to sit, a place to pass by and a place of memory.
Team: Miguel Costa + Meireles de Pinho
in collaboration with: Joana Magalhães
Location: Pedroso VNG, Portugal