Site Chapel


SITE CHAPEL was the theme of the International Architecture Ideas Competition for young architects to develop and present compelling ideas for the design of a chapel located on the Island of Pessegueiro, in Porto Covo, Portugal.

Pessegueiro Island is an important landmark and a place of great cultural heritage and historical importance where the Fort of Santo Alberto and Roman archaeological remains are notable features within this environment.

In generating a vision for an intervention located within such a spectacular setting, it was essential that each design proposal emphasize, respect and celebrate the site and the existing ruins, while providing visitors with a unique experience, with places of stay and calm.


After carefully analyzing the island, we selected the old stone quarries as the main area to work on the proposal. Morphologically speaking, our project is based on the pure forms of the existing quarry rocks and the subtraction generated by the extraction of stones. Our first decision was to place new pure limestone mocha blocks with different sizes and geometries, based on the existing quarry rock, generating constant changes of scale and different spaces of introspection and contemplation.

The chapel is located in a cavity in the mount, a horizontal subtraction, in reference to the rock extractions that were in the quarry area. One of the main objectives is to make it dialogue with the environment: emblematic, but not invasive. The design is based on the combination of Michelangelo's classic techniques and the simplicity of minimalism. The plant is developed in a trapezoidal shape, in order to broaden the perspective towards the visual focus constituted by the altar and a large vertical volume. The latter joins the chapel and serves as a skylight to the interior, in addition to functioning as a bench at the top of the mountain.

Inside there is a multi-mirror work of art inspired by the Argentine artist Julio Le Parc that reflects and creates various visual effects, inviting us to reflection, silence and contemplation. The north wall of the chapel is drilled in different sizes to create one more source of lighting and ventilation inspired by Le Corbusier's Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp.

The new and the old come together through materiality by juxtaposing new stone slabs with existing island rocks. Morphologically it can be seen in the main volume of the project; a new external limestone box containing another old internal rock box. The project is complemented by a new road on the west side of the island that connects all the landmarks with the chosen site.

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