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Universidade do Minho

This investigation intends to recognize the urban landscape’s different occupation and marking processes, revealing the essential symbolic value of its morphology. As backdrop, the city of Braga, in one of its most prosperous constructive periods, the 17th century, provides the necessary context to this study.

The ruling of the Archbishop D. Rodrigo de Moura Teles is highlighted, as sign of the particular govern structure of the city - the unified political and religious power -, establishing the religious buildings and its capacity to sacralise land as the case study. The research’s direction is defined by two distinct architectonic elements: the Tower and the Plaza. Their apparent contradiction leads the different researching methods and will determine the thesis’ structure by dividing it in two main chapters.

The Plaza, Campo Novo, goes through the solid bibliography concerning its formation, in search of an alternative understanding of the conditions, motivations and influences of its conception. Through the examination of the historic and architectonic details, the theoretic and practical uses of Geometry seem to contribute to the plaza’s unique shape.

The Tower, focuses on Braga’s rare cases of reared back churches’ bell towers, recognizing its form’s symbolic depth and content. These particular examples are covered and confronted, according to a magical-religious understanding of landscape, with the roots of the vertical architectural form and its adaptation to Christianity.

Although the tools and methods differ, in both cases are found traces to ancient knowledge; both actions share a foundation built in the spirituality of form, symbolically codified. Be it by mastering the theoretic geometry or by cumulative empiric knowledge, we find in these elements a similar way of interpreting and acting in space.