Comoco can take all the credit for giving Pombal Castle in Portugal a rust-colored upgrade that has inspired the local community to reconnect with their illustrious history. After noticing that residents treated the hilltop castle as nothing more than a curious backdrop, the municipality commissioned the designers to create an intervention that would encourage more participation with what is nothing short of a national treasure. The result: a lightweight timber gazebo, a cafeteria clad in long-lasting corten steel, and a series of low-impact pathways that connect the castle's urban base with its regal summit.
It was important that the new additions to the Pombal castle property had their own identity without detracting from the existing structure. It was also crucial to make it really easy for locals to get to the top of the hill so that they can better experience the incredible stone structure at the peak. So Comoco created switchback pathways that climb to the top of the hill, along with rest areas along the way that promote reflection and peacefulness.
One rest area is a rectangular timber pavilion with even spaced slats. Distinctly geometric but left with a natural finish, this lovely gazebo creates a distinct connection to the leafy green area that surrounds it. On top of the hill is a cafeteria that encourages visitors – both locals and tourists – to stay a while and enjoy the incredible view. A minimalist steel building clad and capped with weathered corten steel, the cafeteria boasts grand windows and serious daylighting. It appears that Comoco has become the go-to architects for castle rejuvenation, and we can see why.
images via Fernando Guerra