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Europe 40 Under 40 Awards ARCHIVE 2021
11CIR - Interpretation Center of Romanesque, 2018 - Rui Dinis
  • 11CIR - Interpretation Center of Romanesque, 2018 - Rui Dinis
  • 11CIR - Interpretation Center of Romanesque, 2018 - Rui Dinis
  • 11CIR - Interpretation Center of Romanesque, 2018 - Rui Dinis
11CIR - Interpretation Center of Romanesque, 2018 - Rui Dinis

Lousada, Portugal

Architects: Henrique Marques / Rui Dinis 

Client: Associação de Municípios do Vale do Sousa

Project team: Sérgio Rocha / Rui Rodrigues / Rui Miguel / Marco Santos / Mónica Pacheco

Landscape Architects: spaceworkers
Design team: Glorybox 

Photographer: FG+SG  - Fernando Guerra

Located in the district of Porto, in the Village of Lousada, the Interpretation Centre of Romanesque is in an area of the village, marked by a strong relationship with an urban square called Praça das Pocinhas and with the Senhor dos Aflitos Church — a strong reference point in the town center. 

The building seeks to create a relation with the site by its implantation on the village square limit establishing an urban continuity between its volumetries and the surroundings and making it a new element of reference for this village center. 

Based on the generator concepts of Romanesque architecture in Portugal, the building aims to be a transitional element between the present and the distant Romanesque past. 

In an austere way, the volumetry proposed contains the principles of unity within diversity, appearing under the form of several volumes with different heights and dimensions, demonstrating the diversity that Romanesque buildings have left us. 

Each volume is a distinct exhibition space. To explore the relationship between them, a concept was created of the rural street as a unifying element and generator of life experiences –a cloister— a central body covered by glass that precedes the entry in each volume. 

This central space allows light into the space and explores the constant bright/dark relationship between it and the exhibition spaces. 
Internally the exhibition spaces reflect a bit of monumentality, referring us to the interior of the Romanesque buildings, not only for their scale but also by their shapes. Therefore, each of the volumes’ ceilings reinterprets one of the roof types used in Romanesque architecture.

As for the materiality, concrete represents stone in its apparent and austere natural state. Therefore, the building always tries to be contemporary without forgetting the importance of the past, by creating an atmospheric symbiosis between these different times.