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Aires Mateus Designs Monolithic Meeting Center

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Designed by Lisbon-based architecture studio Aires Mateus, this monolithic white structure serves as a community meeting center, situated in Grândola, a small town in Portugal’s setúbal district.

With a trapeze-shaped plan, the structure is characterized by a monochromatic color scheme and dramatic apertures cut into its façades, providing entrance points or windows framing views out to the historic buildings that hem the site. Inside, the layout of the single-storey building is defined by the complex ceiling, which contrasts the simple exterior form. Openings in the roof enable that the entire structure is brightly and naturally illuminated. A complete horizontal clearness outlines the space as a whole, which opposes to the weight of the vertical voids with atmosphere. These programmatic requirements informed the schemes interior layout, with modestly sized rooms at the building’s perimeter surrounding a more substantial volume at the center of the plan. As an elderly meeting center, the building includes an area for exhibitions, a cafeteria, and supporting sanitary facilities.

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All images © Nelson Garrido