Memorial and Documentational Center Bragança Sefardita

Bragança, Portugal

The Memorial and Documentation Center Sephardic Bragança is a project of a cultural equipment and space of worship that arises to mark the presence of Sephardic Jews in the center of the city of Bragança.

From here arose the questions related to the conception and organization of a worship space linked to the Sephardic culture. Based on references of Jewish architecture by Bruno Zevi, Sergio Ekermen and Sergio Rujik Gomes, we defined the organization of the space according to the east-west axis, locating the “Ark” or “Hejal” to the east.

The reception-door is located at Rua Abílio Beça, with a direct entrance to the worship space/synagogue located at Travessa dos Bispos. From the main entrance there is access to the different floors and there is a visual connecton with the lower floor – synagogue, with the intermediate floor – gallery and upper balcony and the upper floor where the Documentation center is installed. The liturgical space is located at the lower level (Travessa dos Bispos) in an analogy to the catacombs, a spatial reference linked to the essence of the synagogue.

The space emerges from the ground like a geological formation that rises vertically. The texture and a certain roughness of the interior materials, combined with the play of the different levels, project sound and echo through the space. The stairs are a structuring element of the space with contemplation points from the different heights of the landings. In this way, the interior space is open and interconnected physically by the staircase and visually by the landings, balconies and galleries of the different floors.