| 19 : 30 – 30 May 2018 |
19th century built Dovecote Granary renovated by Tiago do Vale Architects seeks to amalgamate with its surroundings as a ‘treehouse-temple’ in a farmland in Portugal.
Located in the rural landscape of the Minho region, the granary now stands among the tree canopies in Ponte de Lima. Multiple award winning firm – Tiago do Vale Architects expanded the vernacular maize granaries which were built in pairs over a granite base. Combined now by a common roof, the ageing wood within the structure was replaced meticulously and strengthened by support elements. The creative solution lended the granary a ‘no specific purpose’ , but a place to watch the serene surroundings which was once a farmland.
The project recently won the third prize at the International Design Awards-Sustainable Living!
Renovated space in between the two granaries
From the Architect –
The Dovecote-Granary is a place of serenity and introspection, where one can establish strong connection with both nature and oneself. Without a conventional function the space is its own purpose: a treehouse-temple of sorts. Its roots are humble, though unexpectedly pragmatic, creative and sophisticated in their design and solutions. Like a precious little jewel of vernacular Minho architecture.
An evening view of the all purposeful space
Originally built in late XIX century, its starting point were two traditional northern Portugal maize granaries standing over granite bases. A common roof united them under which there was a dovecote. The space between the two granaries was used to dry cereals. Two huge basculating panels controlled the ventilation.
This incredible design was an unusual but smart combination of three very common vernacular typologies (granary, dovecote, drying shed) that are still part of our collective memory. The execution, unfortunately, was not without its problems.
Wooden interiors –
Built out of oak wood, the structure was under-dimensioned for the demands of that construction. Receiving no proper maintenance through an important part of its life, the wood rapidly decayed. Though, still kept standing by steel cables stretched from the adjacent trees it was unsalvageable.
Floor plans and front elevation © Tiago do Vale Architects
The rotten wood pieces, nevertheless, allowed for the full documentation of the design and constructive techniques of the building as it was when last usable. Opening the doors for a piece by piece reconstruction, in the same vein as the Ise Jingu rebuild every 20 years in Japan, but here at the scale of rural northern Portugal, preserving an interesting built vernacular document and using local artisan traditional knowledge to achieve it.
Carpentry details added to strengthen the structure
Times changed, though: there’s no farming on the property anymore, so the rebuilt Dovecote-Granary will not serve its original functions in the foreseeable future. It won’t have a specific use either: it will be what the nature of the space lends itself to be.
Intervention of spaces – renovated granary
These circumstances implied not only reconstruction but also transformation, giving form to the theme of the project. The result is an element by element rebuild of the Dovecote-Granary. With an intricate redesign of all the subtle carpentry details and a limited set of surgical interventions allow for its safe and renewed use.
Dovecote on upper floor
To fix the original structural fragility a small number of cross-members was inserted in strategic locations. These reflected solutions found in buildings of similar age, construction techniques and typology. Two new foldable wood stairs lead inside both granaries. An interior staircase rises to the dovecote, finally making that magical space accessible.
Access stair to dovecote
Elevations and Sections © Tiago do Vale Architects
Re-purposeful space upstairs
This project matrix was of a strict reconstruction with the added requirement of the most minute intervention to render it usable, enabling the minimal necessary connections inside and out.
Stairs added to granary
The Dovecote-Granary is now a sanctuary among the tree canopies, an iconic shape in the rural landscape of the Minho region. The experience of the dancing leaf shadows, the gentle crossing breeze and the birds chirping in a late summer afternoon fully defines its new purpose, function and use.
New purpose and space for all !
View of the surroundings
Nestled among green space
Architect’s interpretation of the granary © Tiago do Vale Architects
Project details –
Project Name – The Dovecote-Granary
Location – Ponte de Lima, Portugal
Architect Firm – Tiago do Vale Architects | http://tiagodovale.com
Design team – Tiago do Vale, María Cainzos Osinde, with Maria João Araújo, Camille Martin, Eva Amor, Hugo Quintela
Client – António Paulino, Casa do Cruzeiro
Photography Credits – © Joao Morgado
Completion Year – 2017
Construction – José Amorim Lima, L.da
Area – Footprint – 183 ft2 (17 m2) | Construction area – 452 ft2 (42 m2)