álvaro siza expands monastery and culture center in porto with modernist concrete courtyard

álvaro siza expands monastery and culture center in porto with modernist concrete courtyard

foundation livraria lello welcomes intervention by Álvaro siza

 

Foundation Livraria Lello is set to open its newly revitalized Monastery of Leça do Balio with a rich public program and a landmark extension by Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. The national monument, built upon the remains of an ancient Roman temple, will sit as the organization’s headquarters and a cultural nucleus open to the community.

 

Its storied stone walls now house the artworks of esteemed public figures and contemporary artists, engaging in a dynamic visual dialogue with Siza’s modernist white concrete intervention. Its towering geometries encircle an open-air courtyard, where visitors can retreat to reflect on the monastery’s exhibitions alongside Siza’s free-standing sculpture, Wayfarer, which anchors the site with a poetic tribute to its spiritual history.

alvaro siza expands monastery and culture center in porto with modernist concrete courtyard
all images courtesy of Alexandre Delmar

 

 

bridging the monastery’s heritage with modernist design

 

Álvaro Siza Vieira’s architectural intervention is complemented by Sidónio Pardal’s landscaping, bridging the Monastery of Leça do Balio’s heritage and Foundation Livraria Lello’s progressive vision for cultural communities. The new concrete extension, spanning 4,305 square feet, features towers rising 40 feet and 46 feet tall, that in their abstractions echo the angularities shaping the monastery’s elevation. These structures are integrated with interior and exterior pathways constructed of permeable, stabilized gravel.

 

‘I was asked to design a project that would highlight and mark the importance of Leça do Balio on the Way of Saint James,’ shares the Pritzker Prize-winning architect, ‘A new landmark in the building that occupies part of a geometric garden belonging to the monastery and has a connection with the church itself.’ The requalification of the monastery and the addition of a new courtyard together embody a fusion of history, architecture, and landscape, paying tribute to the Monastery’s roots and significance along the Camino de Santiago.

alvaro siza expands monastery and culture center in porto with modernist concrete courtyard
Álvaro Siza Vieira completes an extension for the newly revitalized Monastery of Leça do Balio

 

 

On June 22nd, the Monastery of Leça do Balio will be inaugurated with Act the Thought, a contemplative exhibition exploring the theme of misinformation and its human costs, spotlighting the stories of Salman Rushdie, Malala Yousafzai, and Ai Wei Wei along with an installation created through JR’s global art project, Inside Out. 

alvaro siza expands monastery and culture center in porto with modernist concrete courtyard
the modernist architecture engages in dialogue with the monastery’s historic stone walls

alvaro siza expands monastery and culture center in porto with modernist concrete courtyard
a fusion of history, architecture, and landscape

alvaro siza expands monastery and culture center in porto with modernist concrete courtyard
the structure’s towering geometries encircle an open-air courtyard

alvaro siza expands monastery and culture center in porto with modernist concrete courtyard
Álvaro Siza’s free-standing sculpture, Wayfarer, anchors the site with a poetic tribute to its spiritual history

alvaro-siza-livraria-lello-monastery-extension-designboom-01

the extension spans 4,305 square feet, featuring towers rising 40 feet and 46 feet tall

álvaro siza expands monastery and culture center in porto with modernist concrete courtyard
a space where visitors can retreat to reflect on the monastery’s exhibitions

álvaro siza expands monastery and culture center in porto with modernist concrete courtyard
glimpses of light pierce the interiors

álvaro siza expands monastery and culture center in porto with modernist concrete courtyard

 

 

project info:

 

name: Monastery of Leça do Balio extension

architect: Álvaro Siza Vieira

institution: Foundation Livraria Lello

location: Porto, Portugal

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