Driven by the need to serve multiple functions, the Pastoral Center of Moscavide in Portugal is composed by a set of facilities that include catechesis rooms, funeral chapels and the parish residence. The close proximity and connection to the Church of Santo António of Moscavide, a building undergoing classification as a property of national interest, provided premises for dialogue and framing. The two buildings stand out as landmarks of two eras that, although different, complement each other as reference points in the community.
Conceptually, Plano Humano Arquitectos projected an extremely simple volume in articulation with the adjacent church that is also somewhat monolithic. However, the new building presents contemporary details, namely in the materials used, such as concrete, the white walls in the space volumetry, and the connection of the building with the surrounding natural light, which was a constant throughout the project.
The differential use of in-house spaces, due to their different valences, dictated the programmatic display that progressed from more public to more private spaces, leaving behind, in a more isolated and introspective environment, the access to the funeral chapels. Across the Avenue of Moscavide, visitors can access the main entrance of the building, and also the parish residence, which ends up crossing the whole center, thus in close connection with it. A great central skylight unifies all the spaces in the interior of the building.
The sunlight shines onto the resurrection chapels and creates a clear analogy with the liturgical passage they witness, characterizing space and emboldening the moment. The slender lamellae lining the entire facade dematerialise and soften its austere volume, providing a spiritual and incorporeal atmosphere, whereas in the interior, they deliver a sensation of shelter and introspection while enjoying the view and the light.
The final result is a simple, clean, elegant, authentic and almost rough building in terms of materiality, which together with the volumetric work of the spaces, and the crosstalk between natural and artificial light, results in a graphic building that transports the visitor to an ethereal, liturgical and iconographic atmosphere.
Design, info and images courtesy of João Morgado – Architectural Photography