Archiprix Portugal
Portugues English
Instituto Superior Manuel Teixeira Gomes

Intervening in a forgotten place like Aldeia da Estrela can be a challenge for any architect. The present intervention proposes to be an architectural cultural landmark, which promotes interest, knowledge and tourism.

It is intended to return to interest in forgotten lands, such as Aldeia da Estrela and many others, which have so much knowledge of several generations. It is intended to promote tourism by publicizing the Dark Sky Alqueva reservation. It is intended to spread knowledge about the sky and the whole universe, a mystery that belongs to everyone. Moreover, it is intended to return smiles to the aged faces of those who, on these sides, still wander, without hope for better times.

Thus, an Interpretation Center and of Astronomical Observatory, was constituted by two buildings. The largest, projected under the lands of the peninsula where it is inserted, dedicates itself exclusively to the teaching and the knowledge on the subject covered. The smaller one, but also of impact in the landscape, appears on a small promontory and is dedicated to the observation of the celestial vault. The two buildings are joined together by a continuous route, consisting of arms that embrace them, surrounding the small promontories that constitute the peninsula of Aldeia da Estrela. Based on the spiral movement of the Milky Way - galaxy to which our Solar System belongs and where we are in the immensity of the universe - the present project arises.

There was a need to create an infrastructure able to reconcile and combine the two bodies that were proposed with the scarce and weak existing infrastructures. There was a need to create ways and propose alternatives. Thus, around the large central circle - 80 meters in diameter, which later became the central square and core of the project, baselines - circumferential arcs - each with a distinct function were drawn, guidelines for the geometry on which the project is based.