The town of Oleiros in central Portugal has a connection with Tibet and HRH the Dalai Lama that goes back 400 years. In 1600 the local priest, Padre Antonio de Andrade, travelled and studied throughout Europe and India, before eventually crossing the Himalayas into Tibet. There, as one of the first Europeans to enter Tibet, he opened orphanages and spread the messages of his faith, even converting the Tibetian royal family to Catholicism.

The current Dalai Lama has even said that he would like to visit Oleiros if he ever returns to Portugal, so that he can see the birthplace of Padre Antonio de Andrade.

400 years on, Oleiros is now home to Vale de Moses, listed by Forbes Magazine and Nat Geo UK Travel as one of the best yoga retreats in Europe, with even a few Tibetan buddhist teachings taking place, bringing it full circle. For the Yoga House on a Cliff architecture competition, participants are tasked to design a new building to increase the retreat’s hosting capacity, allowing more guests to visit from around the world.

The Vale de Moses Yoga Retreat located in the heart of the Portugal;

The current yoga house has the capacity for 18 participants, and the owners are looking to build a second practice space that could accommodate twice that. The new structure would need to be designed using eco-friendly techniques and materials in order to respect this protected forest area.

[left]: current Yoga shala; [right]: Vale de Moses Yoga Retreat founders Vonetta and Andrew;

With winning designs being considered for construction - and Portugal’s reputation as one of the greenest countries in Europe - projects are expected to have the potential to become a regional example of green building practice, focusing on eco-friendly and cost-effective building techniques. 

The competition site;

View from the competition site;

Download full competition brief for more information!

Competition is open to all. No professional qualification is required. Design proposals can be developed individually or by teams (4 team members maximum). Correspondence with organizers must be conducted in English; All information submitted by participants must be in English

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