Contemporary interpretation of rural towers across Portugal

Wed 8 Apr 2020

Portuguese studio STILL urban design and artist Miguel Seabra present ‘the tower’ — an architectural installation in dialogue with both its immediate and distant contexts. Perched atop a hill fort, the tower overlooks the far-reaching vineyards of vinho verde. The piece aims to express the ancestral occupation of the territory in its architectural, productive and symbolic evolution. Throughout the region’s history, there has long been a desire to punctuate the horizon using ‘menhirs,’ crosses or towers.

“The tower”, developed as part of the ensemble of 10 landscape interventions of DESENCAMINHARTE 2018 in Portugal, serves as a contemporary reinterpretation of that intention. With its distinctive verticality, the tower can be seen from afar, integrated into its surroundings by its simple form and natural tone. Only from within can the visitor experience the project’s atmosphere — vibrant, open to the sky, full of light, and with a climb to the top which reveals a framed view across the vineyard, the valleys, and the mountains of Monção.

STILL urban design and artist Miguel Seabra realized ‘the tower’ with a tubular form, constructed with prefabricated modular concrete rings. The project seeks to offer an atmosphere of contemplation from the outside and an artful experience from within. In a structural and iconographic sense, the studio establishes a formal connection with the region’s typical hill fort constructions which are similarly cylindrical and situated along the landscape’s high ridges and summits.

In a symbolic sense, the form aims to establish a connection between earthly and spiritual elements. the circle is the ‘total’ form — without beginning or end — and is commonly associated with eternity and the divine. The simple geometry has long been symbolic of heaven in its connection to the earth, reflective of the link between spiritual and material realms.

Read the original article here.

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