Product Spec Sheet

ElementBrand
ManufacturersSika
ManufacturersTechnal
ManufacturersAbet Laminati
ManufacturersGeberit
ManufacturersTarkett Ltd
ManufacturersBASWA acoustic AG

Product Spec Sheet
Manufacturers
by Sika
Manufacturers
by Technal
Manufacturers
Manufacturers
by Geberit
Manufacturers
Manufacturers

Boa Nova Church

Joao Morgado - Architectural Photography as Photographer

The site’s name was the “End of the World”. It was one of the city’s last slums. The project brief was determined through a participative process involving everyone in the local community in order to guarantee the project’s social and economical sustainability. The final brief included a church, a community centre (providing jobs and childcare to some of the slum’s former residents), a primary school and an auditorium.


The local community set as one of the main goals the creation a new identity in order to rescue the site from its decade long negative stigma. To the East and South, anonymous suburban surroundings offered no interesting references; hence, we decided to design the church’s tower as an iconic reference.


To the West, we designed a courtyard connecting to the city’s existing public spaces and opening to a steep valley offering distant seaside views. Today, the “End of the World” is known as Senhora da Boa Nova (or Our Lady of the “Good News”).


We believe designing sacred space should revolve around the ability to state the supremacy of the Void. Throughout the project’s development, the key conceptual elements were two empty spaces: the courtyard, a place where the community could meet; and the nave, a sacred space presenting that which could not be presented. We wished the nave to be an introspective, infinite, and irrepresentable space. In order to achieve this, we followed creative paths suggested by the works of Bernini, Piranesi and Rachel Whiteread.


Today, the church stands within an elliptical plan, providing a dynamic sense of scale, and covered by an interior dome, eliminating the wall/ceiling division and spatial references within. The windows are deep, bringing indirect natural lighting into the nave and distancing the suburban surroundings, and the exterior walls curve to present an anthropomorphic object holding within the ilimited, infinite, and irrepresentable Void.

Boa Nova Church

Roseta Vaz Monteiro Arquitectos as Architects

The site was commonly known as End of the World, one of the city’s last slums. The slum’s residents were moved to nearby social housing and the Parish’s goal was to rescue the place from its negative stigma, both physically and socially.


The program was defined through a participative process, involving all parties in the local community in order to guarantee the project’s social and economic sustainability. There were two consensual ideas: the first was to provide both childcare and jobs to some of the slum’s former residents; and the second, to welcome a wider community into the site’s daily life. The final program included a church, a community centre, a catholic primary school, and an auditorium.


The first architectural challenge was to build this ambitious program on a valley, with a steep topography, with a low budget (95$ per square foot, or 750€ per square meter). The first design strategy was to organize spaces around a courtyard. Socially, the courtyard would be a space for the community to meet. Physically, it solved the topographical variation and related the new project with both preexisting urban fabric and views of the distant seashore.


The second architectural challenge was to design a church which, on one hand, would consider the Second Vatican Council, but, on the other, would respect a sense of sacred space, as defined by the catholic tradition. The goal was to design a nave that would celebrate both the assembly and the materialization of an introspective, infinite, and irrepresentable void. This challenge was met with the elliptical plan.


On one hand, the ellipse embraced the assembly around the altar and along its shorter axis, inducing a sense of human scale and participation in the liturgy; on the other, the narthex was visually connected to the tabernacle chapel by the longer axis, providing a monumental scale and reflexive meditation. The dome, eliminating spatial limits between wall and ceiling, provided depth to doorways and windows. The church’s exterior walls curved to shape the elliptical Void, thus presenting to the city an anthropomorphic object.


Today, urban regeneration has occurred beyond the site’s limits and physical appearance. Senhora da Boa Nova (or Our Lady of the Good Word) is firmly rooted as a new urban centre. Architecture has designed a new place and, thus, provided a new name.

Marina Bay Sands
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