Giving Depth to the Traces of Nossa Senhora da Piedade de Caparica

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Giving Depth to the Traces of Nossa Senhora da Piedade de Caparica

Jesse Rafeiro a, Ana Tomé b, João Luís Inglês Fontes c

a Carleton Immersive Media Studio, Carleton University,

1125 Colonel By Drive Ottawa, ON K1S5B6, [email protected]

b Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa,

Av. Rovisco Pais, 1 1049-001 Lisboa, [email protected]

c Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa,

Avenida de Berna, 26-C / 1069-061 Lisboa, [email protected]


Following an extensive renovation project in the 1950s and a lack of documentation throughout its life (contemporary and historic), the Convent of the Capuchos of Caparica (1558) today is in a state of confusion about the original configuration of its spaces. Presently, the convent serves the community of Almada as a space for recitals, concerts, wedding receptions and other social events that although fruitful to the community, mask its original conception as a place of silence and solitary contemplation for a small group of Franciscan friars known across Portugal as Capuchos. A more thorough understanding of the building’s history is necessary as the convent seeks to better understand its past and continued role within the municipality of Almada.Since 1558, generations of Capuchos lived in the convent until the religious orders of Portugal were extinguished in 1834. Following this, it was abandoned for over one-hundred years until the renovation project of the 1950s that inserted many new programs and spaces unrelated to the activity of its past. To achieve better knowledge about the original condition of the building without undergoing an extensive and invasive archeological investigation would not be possible. Even still, such an investigation could leave us with an incomplete picture. Because of this, and because no record drawings or descriptions of the building exist prior to the renovation, the research project described in this paper employs an interdisciplinary, mixed-methodological research approach to virtual reconstruction to provide the scientific validation for an eventual HBIM reconstruction of a speculative past condition of the convent prior to the 1950s.

The approach combines historic text analysis and visualization with photogrammetric surveying of details and spaces found in other convents across the region. A primary text for the research was the 17th century Estatutos da Provincia de Santa Maria de Arrabida that outlines rules to the construction of all Franciscan (minor friars) convents in the province. It includes descriptions of required spaces and strict dimensions to maintain consistent austerity across the order. By visualizing the spaces and relations of the ideal convent as described in the Estatutos, a comparison was also made between the arrangement of specific instances of convents across the same period, region and Franciscan ideology. Through this, the remaining traces of the present could be linked to the past. Another method of comparison for the study involved the use of photogrammetric surveys to acquire models of common details and spaces as seen between the Capuchos convents in Alferrara, Arrabida and Sintra–a “Franciscan triangle” around Lisbon–as a means to compare and visualize traces of the convent that today are no longer present. Following these studies, the paper concludes by outlining a future HBIM reconstruction that will identify building elements according to various sources of information (text, drawing, site visit) and levels of reliability (certainty or speculation) as recorded throughout the research.

Keywords: Virtual Reconstruction, Architectural Heritage, Heritage documentation, HBIM, Photogrammetry, Digital Modelling, 3D Printing, Capuchos Convents



4th International Conference on Protection of Historical Constructions

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