The future Covilhã Jewish Center is part of an urban lot with roughly 150 m2; topographically inside is very rugged, with a gap of almost 11 meters between the two main streets. This gives a very vertical space appropriation, as indeed is observed in adjacent buildings. Conceptually, it is an extreme power and forcefulness to rely on one of the most solid and richly graphic symbols of Judaism: Star of David. Adopted as leitmotiv to the geometric organization of a program while basic idea, the star (hexagram) is divided into two equilateral triangles; when separated by floors these two triangles sum to a total of six sides (3 for each triangle) which totalize the number of spaces that constitute the main functional program: reception, Jews in the World, Jews in Covilhã, symbols and Jewish celebrations and Jews in the Twentieth Century. At the same time, in mathematics, the hexagram is one of the possible representations of the G2 branch systems. With this assumption as motivation-generating geometry, it was possible to produce a set of patterns that serve as a matrix to the design of the building. The introduction of graphical variations of the same patterns (scale, repetition and crossover) allowed a great freedom in formal exploration of possible architectures. These abstract two-dimensional G2 arrays incorporate the third dimension as the wall will follow the hexagonal intersections.
Date: 2010-... Location: Covilhã, Portugal. Project Type: Competition “Interpretation Centre of Jewish Culture in Covilhã” (1st prize). Building Type: Standing exhibition and centre of Jewish culture. Project Area: 506 m2. Promoter: Municipality of Covilhã. Concept: Arquitectos Anónimos®. Project: Arquitectos Anónimos ® + Vítor Rocha Design Team: Arquitectos Anónimos ®,
(competition:) Antonio Minto, Diogo Teixeira, Marie-Alix Beaudet, Monika Grobelna;
(previous design:) Aleksandra Wisniowska, Julien Rondot, Vítor Rocha
(design revision:) Hugo Almeida Engineering Consultant: Spren Plan Lda. Museology: Paulo Celso Monteiro. Archaeology: Pedro Sobral Carvalho. Images and Renders: Arquitectos Anónimos ®. Photography Credits: Sofia Soares Models: Francisca Ribas, Vasco dos Santos.