WIT Press

Protection, Conservation And Enhancement Of The Medieval Tower Of Vilar And Its Surroundings, Lousada, Portugal


Free (open access)





Page Range

375 - 385




2200 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


M. Malheiro


The paper discusses both the interdisciplinary study developed between 2005 and 2013 (concerning Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Archaeology and Civil Engineering) and the subsequent design for the protection, conservation and enhancement of the Tower of Vilar ruins and surroundings. The Tower, previously called domus fortis, was built between the 13th and the 14th centuries. As a fortified manor house, it indicated the feudal power over the adjoining territory. The building was in ruins, lost in the middle of uncultivated land at the top of an irrigated valley. It was surrounded by intense urbanization along the pathways snaking the top of the hills that frame the valley. Contemporary interventions in structures for medieval defence tend to focus on the unconditional “enhancement” of the object, or what remain of it, forgetting the territory that they have shaped. The aim of this paper is to show a different form of acting on this heritage. The innovative approach was the characterization of the surroundings of the monument and the public discussions held between all those involved in the organization, planning and definition of that specific territory. The intention was to seek and to articulate new living spaces, in order to help the community introduce new uses and to gather its members around “their” tower. The methodological problems were therefore reversed. Instead of concentrating at the Tower only, the design team focused on the landscape built around it, endowing it with legibility and reinforcing the links it establishes with the tower, while enabling and ensuring a future conservation by the community.


medieval fortified building, conservation, protection community participation