Theatre in a Quarry, Vila Viçosa

 

The aim is to transform a quarry (VS) belonging to the marble extraction company Solubema into an open-air theatre able to host the annual summer opera festival organized by the University of Evora. This quarry is located to the southwest of Vila Viçosa, near the most important uplands of the region, the Serra D´Ossa. The original topography has been altered over the years by the enormous craters resulting from the incessant search for stone. These violent gashes contrast with the surrounding landscape. However, the devastating effect on the territory, the dramatic impression that it makes on us, is compensated by the possibility of using these spaces, with their strange nature and overwhelming scale, for a whole new purpose. They are grandiose, magnificent, producing spatial structures that lend themselves particularly well to scenic events. The main theme of the intervention is the trajectory, which leads the public from the uppermost level at which they arrive down 50 metres, through a complex seating system. The purpose is to create an architectural route which displays in cross-section the enormous blocks created by the excavations, revealing surfaces infinitely thick – an operation that is predominantly stereotomic. The only things that have been added are some exceptional elements that mark three moments: the arrival (ticket office and shops), the interval (bar and terrace) and the performance area (stage and auditorium). The seating is arranged over a pool of water and against the enormous original walls, which amplify, through their mass, the tremendous power of the operatic voice.

architecture

Pedro Matos Gameiro and Marta Sequeira

design team

Bruno Antão, Josué Valente, Abílio Silva

project year

2010

 

photography / model matos gameiro arquitectos