Álvaro Siza's latest project in Portugal is a 16-meter high watchtower built with a lightweight steel structure featuring photovoltaic panels on the roof. This project is very different from most of Siza's works, both in terms of scale and materials. The watchtower is located in Serra das Talhadas, in the municipality of Proença-a-Nova, and is part of a larger project comprising several structures dedicated to ecotourism in the area, including the still unbuilt Miradouro do Zebro.
The slender tower is divided into platforms at different heights and echoes the memory of an old and modest watchtower made of tubular steel, which stood on the same spot. The new tower has been updated with the latest technology and the installation of solar panels to generate electricity.
Siza was unable to attend the inauguration on June 13 due to health issues but was represented by architect Rita Amaral, who followed the whole design process from the beginning and commented:
The see-through platforms at different heights allow for a full view of the landscape. Rectangular solar panels are concealed over the rooftop, providing a source of energy without any visual impact on the landscape.
The former tower was already part of a nature trail inside the Geopark Naturtejo, a unified geographical area recognized by UNESCO for having sites and landscapes of international geological significance, managed with a holistic concept of protection, education, and sustainable development. In addition to the new watchtower, a ramp was also built to assist in aerial sports and also the longest via ferrata in Portugal, with a total length of 1,600 meters, between Miradouro dos Carregais and Siza Vieira's tower.
According to official information on the website of the Proença-a-Nova municipality, the renovation of Serra das Talhadas cost 625 thousand Euros, of which 250 thousand were financed by Portugal's national tourism agency (Turismo de Portugal) through the Programa Valorizar, a program that promotes the improvement of tourist destinations.