Local marble used to create tapestry museum in Medieval building


Portuguese studio CVDB Arquitectos has created a tapestry museum with vaulted ceilings and walls of locally quarried marble inside a twelfth-century hospital building

The Tapestry Museum is in the small town of Arraiolos, which is famed for the embroidered wool rugs and carpets that have been made there since the Middle Ages.

The designers planned the interior of the two-storey building so that galleries on both floors surround a double-height atrium with an arched ceiling.


Square windows offer views through into the galleries on the two long sides, while a single first-floor balcony at the far end offers a vantage point where visitors can survey the space.

Marble in shades of grey and white cover the atrium floor and continues through the rest of the ground-level spaces.

Architect Joana Barrelas said: “Because we were refurbishing an existing building that is itself very noble, we wanted to use a material that has the same character.”

Vaulted ceilings added during the eighteenth century were retained and repaired in the galleries and multi-purpose spaces of this floor

Marble staircases lead to the larger exhibition rooms on the top floor, where the floor surface switches to Brazilian oak that has been left unpainted to display its natural yellow and pinkish hues.

The roof and first-floor ceilings were completely restructured to create a series of funnel-shaped skylights, allowing light to filter evenly through each of the galleries.

The historic exterior of the building was restored and repainted, while a new staircase was added at the rear to allow tapestries to be easily transported in and out of the building.

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