The SANTA CRUZ Project will be developed along five main scopes/tasks.

Click on each task to learn more.


The SANTA CRUZ research project sought to document the state of the Santa Cruz Monastery in 1834 and the gradual changes undergone by the architectonic complex in the following years.

The methodology was one of a rigorous and in depth investigation of the sources, focused on the interpretation of topographic descriptions and written reports of several epochs, on the analysis of old drawings and engravings and more recent graphic surveys, and on the consultation of academic studies on the architectural history of the monastery.

We also collated and analyzed systematically, with the help of Alexandre Ramires, a new technological output, rich in information, which made its appearance in Coimbra in the 1840’s – photography.



The SANTA CRUZ research project organized an International Symposium, on April 3rd 2019, dedicated to 3D digital reconstructions of disappeared or partially destroyed architectural heritage.

The Conference sought to confront the main technological and disciplinary aspects related to this type of new products and digital applications associated with the interpretation of historical and cultural heritage.

We intended that some of the debate’s ideas would be reflected on the methods developed by the research project and on the obtained results.



The SANTA CRUZ research project produced a 3D digital reconstruction of the situation of the monastery in 1834 using state-of-the-art technology and software.

From point cloud laser scans of remaining structures, virtual 3D reconstructions of missing parts of the monastery (based on iconography and documentation collected), and the articulation and convergence of both systems, we built a 3D model of the building that can be used in Augmented Reality applications, to be visualized in loco in certain areas of the current monastery and surrounding public space.



The SANTA CRUZ research project essayed the hypothetical original layout of Hodart’s “Last Supper”, a remarkable terracotta sculptural ensemble created between 1531 and 1534, which was installed at the top of the monastic refectory, inside a former, now walled, elevated chapel.

A conjectural reconstruction of the ensemble was done in 3D, from the survey of the exhibited sculptures in the National Museum Machado de Castro. Technological applications allowed for the visualization of the “Last Supper” in Augmented Reality, using active 3D glasses, in the space of the refectory as it is today.



The SANTA CRUZ research project developed a series of architectural studies concerning the implementation of an interpretation/museum center in the remaining space of the Santa Cruz Monastery and surrounding spaces.

These studies were developed within the framework of the 5th year of the Integrated Master in Architecture of FCTUC, under the supervision of Professor Architect João Mendes Ribeiro, incorporating UNESCO’s “Historic Urban Landscape Approach”, which includes attention to topography, history, urban morphology and to sociological and environmental aspects.

The results were presented to the public at the exhibition “Projects for the Monastery + In situ 3D recreation of Hodart’s Last Supper”, on display in the “Sala da Cidade”, the former monastic refectory, between 29th January and 16th April of 2022. In parallel, two public debates were organized on the rehabilitation of the current Santa Cruz Monastery and the surrounding area of Coimbra’s downtown.

Finally, we published the book “Projetos para o Mosteiro de Santa Cruz e área envolvente”, coordinated by João Mendes Ribeiro and Rui Lobo (Coimbra, Edarq, 2022), with the architectural designs developed by final year students and with support texts by the Santa Cruz Project researchers and other authors. Also six MSc. thesis have been developed and defended, concerning these architectural designs, and other six MSc. theses are now in the final phase of elaboration.