Tapadas (Royal Forests and Hunting Reserves) of Portuguese Royal Palaces Resilience Spaces. For a Spatial and Architectural Requalification
Research stage: Initial doctoral stage
Category: Extended abstract
The scope of the research focuses on a critical and speculative reflection of the monumental, cultural, architectural and landscape set of the Tapadas (Royal forest and hunting reserves) of Portugal Royal Palaces, in Portugal.
Developing itself in the interdisciplinary fields of architecture, approaching complementary areas such as heritage and landscape.
The object of study are the monumental sets that were royal residences, which have Tapadas (Royal Forests and hunting Reserves), such like Mafra, Ajuda, Necessidades, Queluz and Vila Viçosa (fig.1).
Figure 1: Location of the objects of study in Portugal, designed by the author Ana Catarina Antunes, in 2021.
These sets have played and continue to play a fundamental role in society, at the historical-cultural, ecological and social levels.
The object of study still lacks of an integrative study of the interdisciplinary view of architecture and its relationship with the place.
After a comparative analysis, relating the geographic location and the morphological elements of these sets, by observing the drawings and photography, the research on the revitalization of the built and landscape heritage, will have a design, conceptual and speculative character, relating the cultural, architectural, artistic and landscape heritage.
Within the scope of the research described, the elaboration of the state of the art must be plural and interdisciplinary, summoning all the disciplinary areas and all the potential actors in these territories, promoting the artistic and cultural aspect.
From a historical and epistemological point of view, research/state of the art will convene studies that relate botanic to architecture; the landscape with the erudite; art with literature.
Regarding the relevance of the research context, it fits into the fact that the demands of modern life today, in cities, leads to the need for a balanced management between built-up areas (housing) and green open spaces. The Tapadas (Royal Forest and Hunting Reserves) of Portuguese Royal Palaces, as classified sets, have a high potential for consolidating the ecological and cultural/social structure, which allows preserving the cultural memory and collective identity, constituting their requalification an opportunity to enjoy them. It should be noted that communities start to be increasingly attentive to the value of these sets, noticing a growing adhesion of public participation in the reflection about the management of their future, situation that can be noticed on the case of Tapada das Necessidades.
After visiting these Tapadas it’s possible to notice degradation of some of the main buildings and natural structures, lack of security, dealing with the urgency to prevent the misused of it.
Regarding the aims of the research, the present study has as its main goal:
- (i) Conduct to a critical and speculative reflection on The Tapadas (Royal Forest and Hunting Reserves) of Portuguese Royal Palaces, in order to assess their heritage value (architectural and landscape) and their design potential, testing prospective strategies.
And as specific objectives:
- (ii) To characterize and understand the Monumental Sets (Palaces and Tapadas (Royal Forest and Hunting Reserves)), in the temporal (historical-cultural) and spatial context in which they were created.
- (iii) Analyze how the Royal Palaces and their Tapadas (Royal Forest and Hunting Reserves - spaces for leisure and nature conservation) relate to the context in which they are inscribed today;
(iv) Conceive and test intervention, design and management strategies that value this heritage and its relationship with the City today;
- (v) Define an (architectural) program for the object of study, which can be characterized by these aspects: Rhizomatic, experimental, ephemeral, performative and requalifying.
In relation to the state of the present research, it’s in an early stage, although the study of two of the objects of study is already on course: The Palace and Tapada of Necessidades, and the Palace and Tapada of Ajuda (fig.2).
Figure 2: Tapada da Ajuda and the Monumental Set of the Royal Palace of Ajuda, redesigned by the author, in 2021, made from the original city plan of Lisbon, published by João C. Bon de Souza, and J.F.M Palha, in 1875.
The main buildings of the Tapada da Ajuda were studied and redesigned with the aim of producing an article for a magazine, in order to bring attention to the architecture of this monumental set, where the main buildings are characteristics from the 19th century, such like neoclassical buildings and a building made from iron and glass (fig.3).
Figure 3: Main Buildings of the Tapada da Ajuda and the Royal Palace of Ajuda, redesigned by the author Ana Catarina Antunes, in 2022.
With the evolution of the research, the questions about how could recognised and measured the main values of these monumental sets, led to the understanding of the importance to enquire the main users and potential actors in these sites.
The present research is scheduled to occur along three phases:
In the initial phase of the research, it’s intended to gather information in order to answer to the objectives mentioned in the number (i) and (ii). And for that, it will be done:
- An historical analysis made through the bibliography, expositions attendance, interviews with the entities who manage the main buildings and the Tapada.
- Interpretive reading of the site and landscape of the Tapadas (Royal forest and hunting reserves) of Portugal Royal Palaces, through a comparative analysis of the main characteristics between all of the selected Tapadas, which after that will lead to a more deep and specific research about one of the study of case to develop in the second stage of the research. This interpretive reading of the object is also encouraged to be made with Photography, drawings, videos or even sound (silences and noises).
- Identification of the cultural and heritage value of each monumental set, supported by a review about the evolution of the heritage concepts and through the recognition and surveys of the values of the monumental set. It’s aimed to validate recognized values, by interviewing users, specialists and researchers involved in the studies about these monumental sets. It will be a good practice to visit all the sites, understand the demand of its users by an inquiry, or through a workshop in the site, integrating the community ideas of the cultural and heritage value of the monumental set, in order to cross this subjective analysis, with the bibliography.
- SWOT analysis, enhancing the potentials and revealing the weaknesses of each Tapada, in order to help to choose the object of study that will be deeply analysed in the stage two of the research.
- All the points mentioned, should be continuously enriched with questions that emerge with the design driven research techniques of speculation of new realities for the site.
On the second phase of the research, seeking for the development of a way of analysis approach and achievable way of intervention, it is considered pertinent that the main efforts should be focused on the study of a monumental set, aiming that the design driven research methods can be later replicated to the analysis and intervention of the other sets. In order to concretize it:
- It will be analyzed national and international examples of interventions that value heritage and landscape in monumental sets (Real Palaces and Tapadas) and also Landart interventions will be studied.
- Using Project tools as a way of research to answer the questions and the objectives (iii), (iv) and (v) of the research, trying and testing intervention proposals with graphical materials.
- Considering the questions that a design driven research will naturally arouse, the phase one of the research should be continued too.
In the last phase of the research, it is intended to analyze the results, as well as reach the appropriate conclusions, through:
- (i) Presentation of the conclusions and reflections of the study carried out, through the final writing of the document (doctoral thesis);
- (ii) Production of two scientific documents resulting from the conclusions of each phase of the research;
- (iii) Production of exhibition and/or small documentary (audiovisual) of 15min;