Gallo-Roman Villa of Séviac France, Pyrenees Building, Design, Picture

Gallo-Roman Villa of Séviac, France

Montréal-du-gers Building, south west France design by carrilho da graça

15 Dec 2011

Gallo-Roman Villa of Séviac

Design: carrilho da graça

Gallo-Roman Villa of Séviac Gallo-Roman Villa of Séviac
pictures © Carrilho da Graça architects

Carrilho da graça wins international competition for the protection project and musealization of the Gallo-roman villa of séviac, in Montréal-du-Gers, France.

The first prize in the international competition with pre-selection for the protection project and musealization of séviac archaeological site, in montréal-du-gers, france, was awarded to the architect joão luís carrilho da graça.

“(…) a project that sets up a protective device and does not relate to a known typology. it is a technical device with its own logic, a homogeneous-looking device that creates an event which does not compete with the archaeological remains, but rather gives a new insight into the importance and influence of the villa. the event: to take this opportunity to give contemporary architecture its legitimate place in gers.

An architecture that makes use of contrast in a very strong way. a privileged setting that makes the contrast work. it can become a communication tool: it really is an added value. (…)”
jury report

The international competition with pre-selection held by the s.i.v.u. elusa-séviac provided an opportunity to create a protection system for the villa’s ruins, whose mosaic pavements stand out as the most important element.

The gallo-roman villa of séviac, located in montréal-du-gers, in the midi-pyrénées region, was first discovered in the 19th century and was listed as a national heritage site in 1978.

The excavations that took place over the last four decades unearthed the ruins of a roman villa, which reached its height during the late roman empire, in the third and fourth centuries ad.

Gallo-Roman Villa of Séviac Gallo-Roman Villa of Séviac Gallo-Roman Villa of Séviac
pictures © Carrilho da Graça architects


The project proposes the creation of a volume, a covering that hangs and melts in the air, over the plateau where the villa is situated.

Its geometry was determined by the need to protect the more sensitive areas of the site, such as the mosaic pavements. the abstract character of the covering meets the intended purpose – its shape bears no resemblance to the existing structures, drawing a sharp distinction that highlights the roman ruins.


The covering is positioned 2.5 meters above the pavement and emphasizes a slight depression on the ground caused by the excavations. as a result, the unevenness of the archaeological remains is juxtaposed with the translucent and continuous surface of the covering.


The vertical supports are placed in such a way that they do not interfere with the mosaic flooring areas and they sustain a metal truss system with a mean height of 2 meters. the structure is covered by translucent canvas which conveys an ambiance that is both volatile and stable.

The reception area introducing the theme – the gallo-roman villa of séviac is a glass pavilion that encloses a building dating back to the late 20th century, which is located before the villa’s entrance and alongside the ancient roman road.

Gallo-Roman Villa of Séviac – Building Information

author: joão luís carrilho da graça
teamwork: francisco freire, vasco melo, mariana salvador, nuno castro caldas
graphic design: p-06, nuno gusmão / landscape architecture: victor beiramar diniz
engineering: settec, société d’etudes
techniques; yac, ingenierie; ravennantica s.r.l.
client: s.i.v.u. du pôle archeologique d’elusa-séviac
cost: 2,360,500€
place: séviac, montreal du gers, frança
date: 2011 –

joão luís carrilho da graça

joão luís carrilho da graça, architect, graduated from esbal (lisbon higher-education school of fine arts) in 1977, the year he initiated his professional activity.

lectured at the faculty of architecture of the technical university of lisbon between 1977 and 1992.

professor at the autonomous university of lisbon from 2001 to 2010 and at the university of évora since 2005. headed the architecture department at both institutions until 2010. invited professor at the higher technical school of architecture of the university of navarra in 2007 and 2010. invited lecture in seminars and conferences at several international universities and institutions.

awards given to joão luís carrilho da graça include: the title of “chevalier des arts et des lettres” by the french republic in 2010; the “pessoa award” in 2008, the “luzboa-schréder” award in 2004 at lisbon’s first international light art biennal, the order for merit of the portuguese republic in 1999 and the “international art critics association” award in 1992.

distinguished with the “piranesi prix de rome” prize in 2010 for the archeological museum of “castelo de são jorge”, the “fad” prize in 1999 and the “valmor” prize in 1998 for the knowledge of the seas pavilion at lisbon expo ’98; the “secil” prize in 1994 for the school of media of the i.p.l (lisbon polytechic institute), and the nomination for the “mies van der rohe” european architecture award in 1990, 1992, 1994, 2009, 2010 and 2011, this year for the pedestrian bridge over the carpinteira stream and the archeological museum of “castelo de são jorge”.

carrilho da graça arquitectos, lisbon, portugal

Gallo-Roman Villa of Séviac images / information from carrilho da graça

Location: Séviac, France

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