cerejeira fontes arquitectos has completed the restoration of the imaculada chapel in braga, a northern city of portugal. to transform the interior of the 1940s-era stone chapel, the studio inserted a canopy structure comprised densely of vertical wooden members, taking advantage of the height of the existing space. this intervention, the cheia de graca chapel, was designed to recall the image of a forest — its ‘trunks’ a filter between the espaco sagrado, the sacred space, and the espaço profano, the unholy space.

all images by nelson garrido 



cerejeira fontes arquitectos introduced a thin concrete vault to surround the wooden chapel overhead — the vault appears to be suspended in space, defying its own materiality. photographed here by nelson garrido, narrow apertures cut through the walls of the vault, creating moments of openness and allowing sunlight to filter through. this filtered light softly illuminates the accuracy and dignity of the structural elements of the canopy. the studio intended for this  concrete vault to create a space of absolute ‘restless silence’ inviting visitors to a moment of introspection and quiet contemplation.

cerejeira fontes chapel restoration portugal



the designers further enhanced the acoustic quality of the chapel with acoustic paneling along the on the ceiling of the nave. this enhancement allows space to be ‘manifested by sound, creating a dialogue between space and the user.’ because of this vault, cheia de graça chapel assumes a circular form which favors both gathering and introspection to the inhabitants of the seminary. the studio elaborates: ‘thus, by its composition and scale was given to this space a level of superior intelligibility and a spiritual dimension, allowing the dialogue between space, the individual and the divine.’

cerejeira fontes chapel restoration portugal cerejeira fontes chapel restoration portugal cerejeira fontes chapel restoration portugal cerejeira fontes chapel restoration portugal cerejeira fontes chapel restoration portugal cerejeira fontes chapel restoration portugal

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