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Mértola, Portugal


Mertola Municipal Gov.





In the realm of interior design and architectural solutions, the challenge often lies in harmonizing the past with the present, especially when the canvas is as historically rich as Mértola, Portugal. The town, cradled within the embrace of a majestic citadel wall, whispers tales of Roman craftsmanship, later fortified by the Moors to stand as a sentinel against the tides of time and conflict.

Mértola Art Gallery is not just a space; it's a narrative. A narrative that delves deep into the annals of history, seeking to rejuvenate the forgotten ruins that lie dormant at the base of the citadel wall, overshadowed by the looming fortifications that once stood as the town's protective shield. The Guadiana River, flowing gracefully below, has been a silent witness to the town's evolving tapestry, its waters reflecting the changing moods of Mértola.

The essence of gallery design is to create an environment that not only showcases art but also becomes a piece of art itself. The design for the Mértola Art Gallery sought to achieve this by rekindling the town's connection with its historical roots. The project was envisioned as a bridge between epochs, a space where the echoes of the past meet the aspirations of the present.

The design approach was holistic, aiming to weave the gallery seamlessly into the urban fabric of Mértola. By introducing a monolithic ground plane, the boundary between the interior of the gallery and the exterior world was artfully blurred. This expansive surface served as a canvas, drawing the citadel wall, the river, the ruins, and the panoramic vistas into a unified gallery experience. It was as if the walls of the gallery had dissolved, allowing history to flow freely into its confines.

Adjacent to the gallery, a sprawling public plaza and amphitheatre emerge, acting as stages where the town's stories can be celebrated and shared. These spaces, with their fluid boundaries, invite visitors to immerse themselves in Mértola's rich heritage, offering glimpses of the citadel wall's grandeur, the serenity of the Guadiana River, and the enigmatic ruins that have long yearned for recognition.

To ensure seamless accessibility, the plaza is intricately connected to the upper echelons of Mértola through a series of pedestrian ramps and service roads. These pathways, while functional, also serve as arteries of memory, guiding visitors through the town's historical journey.

The Mértola Art Gallery stands as a testament to the transformative power of interior design and architectural solutions. It is a space where art is not just displayed but lived, where every corner, every stone, and every view tells a story. It is a celebration of Mértola's legacy, a tribute to its resilience, and a beacon for its future.

Lukasz Kos
Edyta Krawczyk

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