António Rodrigues, a Portuguese Architect with a Scientific Inclination

  • João Pedro Xavier


António Rodrigues’s Onze Mil Virgens Chapel (ca. 1565) at Alcácer do Sal is a classic temple built as a mausoleum. Here we are able to discern the omnipresence of geometry, always in association with number. Although this temple is tied to a pre-existing one, it has a rigorous geometric plan based on the square, detected at different scales. An ad quadratum geometry is almost always present in the definition of the general proportions of the Chapel, as the side of the squared modular piers and pilasters and its diagonal are related with the measures of the whole. Other clearly discernable proportions are 5:4 and 7:6. The use of the 5:4 rectangle is related to the height of the celestial pole at Alcácer, evidence of Rodrigues’s “scientific inclination”. Further, the geometry is used to propose a hypothesis for a possible design of the main façade, one of the most puzzling aspects of this temple.


Golden Section Architectural Element Inscribe Circle Celestial Pole Puzzling Aspect 
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The author wishes to thank Alexandre Alves Costa, History of Portuguese Architecture Lecturer and Professor at FAUP, for his advice on this chapter, and architect Kim Williams who so carefully revised the text.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculdade de Arquitectura, Universidade do PortoPortoPortugal

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