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Universidade do Minho

The convent S. Francisco do Monte, founded in 1392 by the religious order of Observant Franciscans, is the first of its kind in the then village of Viana, situated in an isolated area, surrounded by farm lands, orchards and plentiful water supply.
With the extinction of the religious orders within the catholic church, the convents are dispossessed and expropriated, their architectural purpose and meaning very often lost.
As a consequence, there is urgent need to intervene and protect this patrimony, ensuring not only it’s material conservation but also the continuity of its cultural values.
In developing this project a thorough analysis of the convent was developed, ensuring a correct and pondered architectural intervention, which allowed to rehabilitate it as an useful element, emphasizing its relation with its location and refreshing the harmony with the surroundings.
The aim is an intervention strategy that emphasizes this building’s historical and archeological values, while enhancing touristic, socio-cultural and economic potential.
A tailored approach to each space of the convent allowed to potentiate its specific architectonic language, maintaining and rehabilitating its original and intrinsic architectonic characteristics.
The culture and spiritual discipline of the Franciscan religious order that created the original building are considered, and expressed in the rehabilitation in multiple forms, including the use of simple and even austere lines and spaces, as well as the use of raw materials, submitted to natural aging processes.