This block-like structure nestled among the ruins of a medieval castle in Portugal looks like a large limestone monolith, while it both blends and contrasts with the surrounding topography and architecture. Portuguese practice Comoco Arquitectos designed it as a visitor center, accommodating a reception, storage area and screening room for showing a virtual history of the Pombal castle.
Comoco Arquitectos were commissioned to design the visitor center and landscaping, including the revitalization of the existing amenities in the castle’s keep. The visitor center is located in the castle’s ward and, in addition to its primary function, acts as a platform that enables access to the sixteenth-century, Munuelin-style windows piercing the southwest side of the castle’s curtain wall.
The main principles that guided the design approach were related to critically preserving and enhancing the ruins as parts of collective memory. The idea was to create a structure that would have a strong voice, while remaining respectful of the many historical and built artifacts that populate the space.