Text description provided by the architects. The museography and exhibition architecture project of the Panteão dos Almeida, in the Church of Santa Maria do Castelo in Abrantes, Portugal, aims the adaptation and interior requalification of an old church (a historic building in the city of Abrantes, built in 1215 by D. Afonso II, being later, in 1433, rebuilt by D. Diogo Fernandes de Almeida, one of the central characters of this project), fulfilling the strictness of the restrictions, imposed by the entities that supervise the intervention in heritage and that do not allow any alteration to the existing other than painting and maintenance of materials.
Thus, the intervention has to be completely reversible and minimalist to avoid competing with the historical grandeur of the existing.
With that in mind, an intervention with an ethereal and simple appearance was thought of, which could dialogue with the pre-existing, while creating a virtually open and fluid space, capable of exploring numerous visual and conceptual relationships between the proposal and the existing, making it It also serves as an interpretive element of the church, while defining the hierarchies of exhibition design, thus creating an immersive experience for visitors.
The proposal was materialized in the construction of a pine wood platform, placed on an existing clay floor, while peeling off the walls to give the impression of a floor that floats in space, as if it were a new layer of history, also allowing to perceive the existing floor, which tells a different story.
The exhibition architecture explores the meaning of the immaterial and the intangible, and its permeability allows the visualization of the entire breadth of the Church, a kind of augmented reality, layers of information juxtaposed to the existing one.
Defying the scale of the place, the proposal assumes different dimensions, rhythms and proportions of the exhibition structures, which are simple, ephemeral, transparent and, which manage with little volume and little material, to communicate with subtlety alluding to the sacred, a simplicity of constructive logic.
The wooden floor supports the metal structures of various dimensions, with glass that varies between 5m, 3m and 2m in height. These are embedded at a depth of 30 cm in metallic pieces, which make the ballast built by wood, support the weight of the structure.
The various pieces are distributed throughout the museum space, according to a layout that follows the geometry of the building and takes advantage of verticality (and scale).
The lines of light, which run through the entire floor of the museum, elevating the space with an energetic and active vibe, and are repeated in the glass frames that support the graphic elements of the exhibition, play a central role in the entire project.