Museum, Church and Cemetery of Luz in Mourão
This is the winner of a Diploma
Due to the construction of a dam to provide water in this arid region of South-East Portugal, the village of Luz was submerged. The inhabitants and their culture were relocated in a brand new village. The 15th century church and 19th century cemetery of the old village were reinstated on the site of the new village two km away. A museum was designed as an entity to preserve the village’s history and support the identity links between the new village and the old submerged village. The schistose ground on which the new village is built makes this re-foundation an inevitable experience of working with the same fabric and local traditions as in the old village.
Strategically located along the east-west axis of the village, the museum constitutes the founding and structural element of the new village. The interior’s strong emphasis on fabric – walls of concrete and schist extracted from a local quarry – responds to the building’s functional programme. The Luz (light) room as a focal point of the museum, with light flues the only externally visible signs of the building, constitutes a space of light or a blank page ready to receive the record of the life of the territory as the history unfolds.
“For the ingenious relocation of the village’s church and cemetery and for the appropriate design of a new museum to preserve and develop the identity of the village and establish a link between the past and the future.”