Observation and Interpretation Centre of Serra da Estrela's Landscape

Anamnesis resumes the intention to “bring back” the value of Serra da Estrela Natural Park, pretending to expose the qualities that “memory” has lost. In analogy with land art interventions, the artificial appears as a path to the appreciation of the natural, where the landscape becomes the genesis of the proposal's guidelines.

Image work detail

The affective relation with the Natural Park of Serra da Estrela induced the desire to intervene in this scenario, intending to recognize its value, promoting a praiseworthy and relevant natural heritage. In this commitment, the present work aims to concept a proposal for an Observation and Interpretation Centre of Serra da Estrela's Landscape. A building intended to spread knowledge and dissemination of the environmental heritage of Serra da Estrela, which implantation, within the natural park, allows through the educational, interpretative and cultural components, the observation and contemplation of the landscape in a direct and instructed way.

The project started without a defined location, so, it was necessary to start a journey finding the ideal place. The immersive and continuous exploration in-situ, promoted a better appreciation, leading to understand the particularities of the landscape. In this demand, an element seduced my eye: a rock. Its static, solid and austere looking, contrasts with its sculptural and graceful appearance. In this environment of apparent disorder, where everything seemed to exist on its own, the unexpected happens: an alignment between the rock and the wall of an artificial lagoon. The alignment wasn´t read as a passive factor, but rather, as an active ingredient capable of transforming itself into the constructive matter of architecture. Despite the privileged position and the consequent astonishment and exaltation, the landscape is interpreted with simplicity an boldness, in a controlled and balanced way. In this process, comes up the idea of a monolith that is embedded in the topography and emerges to the surface. This volume establishes the alignment between the rock and the wall, being the only gesture of intervention, the volume itself. Accessing the site, freely by nature, the visitor interacts with the landscape, through a dynamic exploration with the building. During the visit, each permanent exhibition room gives to visitors, through an aligned frame, a specific landscape observation, providing the contemplation of a horizon that defines the thematic of each room. Developed along three levels, the center explores the educational, interpretative and cultural components, where the different atmospheres created along the project, dynamize the visiting experience. An individual dialogue is promoted between light and shadow, interior and exterior, variation in scale, sound and silence, movement and contemplation. This journey aims to promote a freedom feeling of actions and movements, in which the visitor is guided through, not realizing that he is part of a staged script. The landscape is the end and beginning of the proposal, in a reciprocal relation between man and architecture.