Álvaro Siza

Capela do Monte . Lagos

Álvaro Siza . Capela do Monte . Lagos (1)

Álvaro Siza Vieira . photos: © Joao Morgado

The Monte da Charneca Center, scheduled to open in early 2021, is a privately funded initiative that will offer visitors to Portugal’s Algarve region a peaceful, spirit-restoring retreat. Conceived by a Swiss-American couple who have lived in the area since the mid-1980s, the Center has as its focal point a non-denominational Christian chapel designed by the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Álvaro Siza, who also has advised on the Center’s master plan. The Capela do Monte (Hillside Chapel) opened in March 2018 just before Easter. Seven typical houses, sensitively restored over the past 30 years with a local heritage architect, already form the renewed core of Monte da Charneca, a farming hamlet that like many others in the region fell into abandonment and ruin. In addition to encompassing the seven houses, the 7-hectare Center (17.3 acres) has its own water supply, is energy self-sufficient through solar power, and maintains an orchard with citrus, almond, fig, and olive trees. The next phase of development will add a handful of new residential structures in a consistent architectural style, along with facilities to help revitalize traditional agricultural activity and welcome visitors. Continue reading Álvaro Siza