Living tradition: Dovecote Granary by Tiago do Vale
Client: António Paulino, Casa do Cruzeiro
Architect: Tiago do Vale Architects
Location: Ponte de Lima (PT)
The airy wooden pavilion designed by Tiago de Vale in replacement of two traditional 19th-century granaries is a place of calm and contemplation. Two old granite bases act as the foundation of the new building, recalling its former use. In earlier times a dovecote was located under the roof shared by the two granaries, while the space between them was used to dry grain.
The old construction in oak was in a bad condition, but as Tiago do Vale states, its formal typology was "still part of the Portuguese collective memory". As it was not possible to save the old structure, it was completely documented and then reconstructed. The small new building pays homage to the vernacular architecture of northern Portugal's Minho province. The architects compared the reconstruction principle with that of Japan's wooden shrine complexes that undergo rebuilding at regular intervals, thus helping preserve the historic means of construction over the centuries despite the transient nature of the material.
Since the granary building no longer had an agricultural function, its reconstruction also entailed a transformation of use: the rooms do not fulfil any particular purpose and are deliberately generously sized. Two small wooden stairs lead to the two granary sections, plus an interior staircase rises to the former dovecote, thus opening up what was once a closed space.