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Universidade de Coimbra - Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologias

In the 1930s the Second Republic, the corporatist authoritarian regime installed in Portugal, undertook a policy of alimentary autonomy. The production of wheat, organized as a plantation campaign in unproductive lands, deeply altered the landscape in Alentejo. The district of Mértola, like many other districts, was included in the programme and so grain storage barns and a grinding factory were built. Those buildings, located on the left bank of the River Guadiana, stand there today with no function whatsoever and their value, as an inescapable physical landmark of the landscape of Mértola, makes it urgent to reuse them. According to this premise the aim of the present work is to design an architectural intervention for the banks of the river Guadiana and more specifically for the rehabilitation of the existent Industrial complex.
The program is defined as the new headquarters for the Archaeological Field of Mértola, taking into account the difficulties in supporting all the program necessary to develop its objectives of research, conservation and restoration of the archaeological heritage of the village. The project explores the cultural, scientific, urban and citizenship potential that its attribution to the Mértola Archaeological Field camp may allow. The different areas and volumes acquire specific vocations and potentialities ranging from a large exhibition area and a visitable archive, to a research residence, to the urban library, auditorium and cafeteria programs.
Culminating in the detail of the proposal, the investigation follows a path from territorial intervention to rigorous detailing of constructive element. As a whole the project fulfills its guidelines while referring it to a comprehensive, but not less incisive, plan in which we cannot dissociate any scale from the other, be it local or territorial.