Contemporary Modernism in the Algarve.
Vila "Estalagem da Cegonha" in Quinta de Lago
Pritzker Prize winner Eduardo Souto de Moura is definitely among the top of the current generation of Portuguese architects. The Pritzker Prize is an international architecture prize, comparable to the Nobel Prize, but than in the field of architecture. Alvaro Siza is another Portuguese architect who received the prize a decade before Souto de Moura. Not bad for a country with a modest construction volume to be at the top of the architectural world. Both architects come from the “architecture school” of Porto and clearly belong to the “Modernists” school for which this education is known. Eduardo Souto de Moura's well-known projects in the Algarve include the villa “Estalagem da Cegonha” in Quinta de Lago in Loulé. The municipality recently announced that it is in the process of placing this house at Avenida Ayrton Senna 33 on the list of “Municipal Valuable Buildings”. This villa is reminiscent of the building set you had as a toddler and where you had to insert geometric shaped wooden blocks through the holes in the lid of a box. Souto de Moura simply translated his children's toys into a rectangular house with a patio in the corner and placed a collection of geometric shapes on the roof as a crowning touch.
Convento das Bernardas’in Tavira
Another well-known project by Souto de Moura in the Algarve is the restoration and transformation of the former monastery 'Convento das Bernardas' - located next to the new market hall in Tavira - into a luxury residential complex. See Blog: https://ap.lc/FZMCx - Convento das Bernardas.
Gonçalo Byrne is a “modernist architect” who has also won international prizes and whose a number of well-known projects can be admired in the Algarve. For the city of Faro - European Capital of Culture 2007 - he designed the new 'Teatro das Figuras' that has a dominant presence, to the right of the roundabout with the motorcyclist when entering the city.
Teatro das Figuras in Faro
The Teatro das Figuras, with its dominant receding stage tower, not only marks the entrance to the city, but also the entrance to the walking and cycling area of the “Parque Reiberinho”. The theater can also be visited for a guided tour; on request of course. The wide stage and all the technical possibilities in particular are frequently praised by the theater's artists, according to the employee who showed us around with great enthusiasm.
Palacio de Estoi
Estoi is home to the Late Baroque 'Palacio de Estoi', which is mainly known in tradition as a former 'Pleasure Garden'. It was built by architect Domingos da Silva Meira in the early nineteenth century for Francisco do Carvalhal e Vasconcelos. After the death of the last member of the family and a period of decline, it was acquired by the wealthy José Francisco da Silva at the beginning of the twentieth century and restored.
Officially, this new owner would have acquired the title of 'Viscount' for the way in which he restored the Palacio. However, in the stories that circulate in Estoi, it is because of the wild parties he organized there and the opportunity for his powerful friends to experience amorous adventures. It is reflected in the frivolous tile tableaus on the walls of the Follies in the palace garden.
The Pestana group has incorporated the complex into their empire of Poussadas and it is a real pleasure to stroll through the halls and palace gardens or to have a drink on the terrace or inside at the bar. Architect Gonçalo Byrne was asked to transform it into a 4-star hotel, which he did by adding a sleek concrete wing with 63 rooms and a vegetated roof, a garden and a swimming pool with spa. and other facilities hidden in the landscape with views of the surrounding farmlands. A confrontational example of modern minimalist architecture. You wouldn't expect it, but the colorful dollhouse architecture of the Palacio de Estoi and the hard businesslike concrete extension - partly because of the green context - go very well together in this charming hotel. A successful fusion of tacky historicizing architecture and contemporary brutalism.
Biblioteca Municipal Álvaro de Campos in Tavira
One of the most beautiful 'contemporary' architectural projects in the Algarve is the Biblioteca Municipal Álvaro de Campos in Tavira opposite the Ermida de São Sebastião. This building, designed by architect Carilho da Graca, stands on an almost completely built-up triangular plot of land where Tavira's prison used to stand. In addition to using the difficult plot of land in a very efficient manner, the architect left the facade of the prison standing with respect for the context and subtly incorporated it into his design.
It has led to a sleek library with a pleasant outdoor space through the ingenious use of the old facade as a separation from the patio with garden where it is pleasant to relax while reading a newspaper or book or enjoying a drink from the bar. Here there is no harsh confrontation as with the Palacio of Estoi, but - especially because of the white painted walls of both the prison and the new library - a harmonious whole surrounded by rust-brown Corten steel walls that frame the pleasant entrance to the higher access square.