Article

Vernacular architecture in the south of Portugal: The history of Mértola’s houses from a rural to an urban landscape

Article

Vernacular architecture in the south of Portugal: The history of Mértola’s houses from a rural to an urban landscape

If you want to read the PDF, try requesting it from the authors.

Abstract

This article deals with permanence and change in the traditional architecture of southern Portugal, adopting the town and landscape of Mértola as a case study. This research conveys how the relationship between the vernacular architecture, the territory and the site is not immune to the course of history, reflecting a profound change in the ways of living over time. In methodological terms, the research focuses on surveying and characterizing architectural diversity in both the rural context (with the definition of various landscape subunits) and the urban context (delimiting the various urban subunits). This concludes that the architectural specificity, in both contexts, is subordinate to the same processes of historical change which nevertheless acquire a circumstantial dimension. These processes include the readable influences of models and ways of living arriving from abroad and contemplate: the transition of the courtyard house from the Islamic medieval period to the compact house of the Christian medieval and modern periods; the consolidation, diversification and ennobling of different housing types during the Ancien Régime; and the profound transformations of domestic architecture following the advent of Liberalism.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... In any case, there was a a progressive transformation of domestic architecture in the more noble urban areas -keeping the same compositive principles -associated with buildings of wide façades, with storage or commercial spaces on the ground floor and housing on the upper floor. If in pre-existing neighbourhoods, this typology often resulted from the combination of several narrow plots, as was confirmed for Mértola (Costa & Rosado, 2021), in the areas of expansion, it derived from the alteration in allotments (Rosado, 2022). An example of the importance of the cell composition in wealthier houses of the modern period is, for example, in the urban nuclei of the southern Portuguese coastline, with the characteristic dwellings with multiple four-sloped roofs -telhados de tesouro -which record, through their morphology, the structural geometry of the building. ...
Conference Paper
Up until the 13th century, the South-western Iberian Peninsula shared the same cultural and political conditions under the rule of garb-Al-Andaluz. The administrative separation of this territory between two different kingdoms led to deep changes in the culture and daily life on either side of the border, which may have reflected on housing structures. Did the 13th-century border between Spain and Portugal trigger divergent paths in housing types? Or has the previous common background prevailed in shaping house models in the territory around the Guadiana Valley? This paper proposes a set of themes to begin a cross-border study on the traditional house, its changes and continuities. The research is based on in loco architectonic surveys of common houses in the Algarve, Alentejo (Portugal) and Andalusia (Spain). The buildings are analysed as regard their spatial organizations, constructive techniques and urban implantation allowing some themes of change and continuity to emerge. This then allows comparisons between the types of traditional houses in these border regions, their common characteristics, differences and evolution paths. It is noticeable that, given how the South-western Iberia represents the same territorial unit in terms of climate and orography, and – until the 13th century – shared the same historical context, the urban similarities were profound. It is therefore almost surprising how divergent the housing evolution between the two sides would become. The study of housing architecture is of particular relevance to the history of people as the variations reflect how the habits and customs of societies. Especially in societies sharing the same starting point, it shows how habits and customs may diverge after separation into two different administrative entities.
Article
Full-text available
El patrimonio cultural es considerado hoy como uno de los pilares fundamentales del desarrollo urbano-territorial de áreas con un legado histórico especialmente valioso. Así, la reciente eclosión del turismo cultural ha favorecido la proliferación de estudios sobre cómo éste contribuye a un mejor nivel socioeconómico y cultural de los habitantes de lugares patrimoniales, especialmente en grandes urbes monumentales y ciudades medias históricas. Este trabajo pretende evaluar este efecto en un área rural que conserva un acervo patrimonial que se extiende al conjunto de un territorio polinuclear alejado de los grandes polos turísticos: la villa de Mértola (Portugal) y los asentamientos de su concejo. Combinando el análisis del caso, la cartografía territorial y la toma de datos, se pone en cuestión cómo la valoración y difusión de determinados elementos patrimoniales puede activar, a través del desarrollo profesional y el turismo cultural sostenible, procesos de resiliencia en destinos patrimoniales remotos.
Article
Full-text available
This is an overview of the houses in southern Portugal, at the final stages of the Islamic period, using Mértola as the case study. Recent archaeological works, performed in different places, give us information on the houses’ organization, as well on the daily life of the population. Alimentary habits have been disclosed through a series of analyses.
Per uma scienza del território
  • N F Carver
Carver, N. F. (1981). Iberian villages. Portugal & Spain. Kalamazoo: Documan. Cataldi, G. (1977). Per uma scienza del território. Studi e note. Firenze: Uniedit.
Alguns temas para a caracterização dos assentamentos rurais no Sul de Portugal
  • M R Costa
Costa, M. R. (2010). Alguns temas para a caracterização dos assentamentos rurais no Sul de Portugal. In M. P. Vieira (Ed.), As Idades da Construção (pp. 92-109). Lisboa: IEFP.
Mértola. Architecture in the town and its territory / Arquitetura na vila e no termo. Mértola: Campo Arqueológico de Mértola. Custódio
  • M R Costa
Costa, M. R. (Ed.). (2015). Mértola. Architecture in the town and its territory / Arquitetura na vila e no termo. Mértola: Campo Arqueológico de Mértola. Custódio, J. (2018). A mina de São Domingos e o Pomarão. Monumentos, 36, 110-125.
Mértola e a navegação tradicional no Guadiana na segunda metade do século XIX. Monumentos
  • M Feio
Feio, M. (1983). Le Bas Alentejo et l' Algarve. Évora: INIC. Garcia, J. C. (2018). Mértola e a navegação tradicional no Guadiana na segunda metade do século XIX. Monumentos, 36, 100-109. Gómez Martínez, S. (Ed.). (2014).
Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World (Volume I)
  • P Oliver
Oliver, P. (Ed.). (1997). Encyclopedia of Vernacular Architecture of the World (Volume I). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Vernacular architecture: the house and society
  • G T Petherbridge
Petherbridge, G. T. (1996). Vernacular architecture: the house and society.
Architecture Without Architects. A Short Introduction to Non-Pedigreed Architecture
  • L Lopes
In G. Michell (Ed.), Architecture of the Islamic World (pp. 176-208). London: Thames and Hudson. Portuguese National Commission for UNESCO. (2018, June). Indicative list of Portugal's World Heritage (Ministry of Foreign Affairs). https://www. unescoportugal.mne.pt/pt/temas/proteger-o-nosso-patrimonio-e-promover-a-criatividade/patrimonio-mundial-em-portugal Rafael, L. & Lopes, V. (2018). Roman house. In S. Gómez Martínez (Ed.), Mértola Museum -General Catalogue (pp. 23-42). Mértola: Campo Arqueológico de Mértola. Rapoport, A. (1969). House Form and Culture. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Ribeiro, O. (1998). Portugal. O Mediterrâneo e o Atlântico. Lisboa: Sá da Costa. Rudofsky, B. (1987). Architecture Without Architects. A Short Introduction to Non-Pedigreed Architecture. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. Silbert, A. (1978). Le Portugal Méditerranéen à la fin de l' Ancien Régime. Lisboa: INIC.
Mértola Museum -General Catalogue (p. 229). Mértola: Campo Arqueológico de Mértola
  • C Torres
Torres, C. (2014b). House of Mértola. In S. Gómez Martínez (Ed.), Mértola Museum -General Catalogue (p. 229). Mértola: Campo Arqueológico de Mértola.
Mértola no Alengarve
  • F Varanda
Varanda, F. (2002). Mértola no Alengarve. Lisboa: Assírio & Alvim.