Calheta Art Centre on Madeira
Set on top of cliffs overlooking the Atlantic, this massive building complements the neighbouring Casa das Mudas structure, which was converted for cultural purposes some years ago. The outer appearance of the new development is dominated by the use of dark basalt, a reference to the volcanic origins of the island. The form also alludes to the traditional agricultural terraces of the area. The large plateau-like roof reflects the upper line of the cliffs, while courtyards and narrow paths articulate the large volume of the building.
A long ramp leads down from the top via a terrace overlooking the sea to the central courtyard at entrance level. From here, separate access is provided to the various functional areas, although these are linked on the floors below. In this way, the shop, library, restaurant and auditorium, with seating for 238 people, can be used independently of the museum. A flexible route through the exhibition area is also foreseen. The library extends over three stepped levels, from the uppermost of which there is direct access to the roof.