The Dovecote-Granary | Tiago do Vale Architects

Ponte de Lima | Portugal | 2017


The Dovecote-Granary is a place of serenity and introspection, where one can establish a strong connection with both nature and oneself. Without a conventional function the space is its own purpose: a treehouse-temple of sorts.
Its roots are humble, though unexpectedly pragmatic, creative and sophisticated in their design and solutions: a precious little jewel of vernacular Minho architecture.
Originally built in the late XIX century, its starting point were two traditional northern Portugal maize granaries standing over granite bases. A common roof united them under which there was a dovecote. Finally, the space between the two granaries was used to dry cereals, with two huge basculating panels controlling the ventilation.
This incredible design was an unusual but smart combination of three very common vernacular typologies (granary, dovecote, drying shed) that are still part of our collective memory. The execution, unfortunately, was not without its problems.
Built out of oak wood, the structure was under-dimensioned for the demands of that construction and, receiving no proper maintenance through an important part of its life, the wood rapidly decayed: though still kept standing by steel cables stretched from the adjacent trees it was unsalvageable.