Right in the city centre of Vila Nova de Famalicão, more precisely in the middle of Praça D. Maria II (Dona Maria II Square, commonly called Praceta Cupertino de Miranda) lie the headquarters of the Cupertino de Miranda Foundation, recognised as one of the ex-libris of the county.
The headquarters of the Cupertino de Miranda Foundation is a landmark both due to its tiled walls authored by Charters de Almeida (b. 1935), and to its 10-story, 21-room, 34-metre high helix-shaped tower.
This building, directed by the engineer José Fortunato Paulino Brandão Freire Themudo and with an architectural project signed by the architect João Abreu Castelo Branco (accompanied and completed by the architect Luís Praça), was implanted in a 1,189 sqm plot granted by the Municipality of Vila Nova de Famalicão in 1966 for the purpose of housing the headquarters of the Cupertino de Miranda Foundation. Its construction was financially backed by the Foundation itself with its income and by funds granted by its founders.
As a matter of curiosity, these are some of the materials from which the building was made: 180 tons of iron, around 54,000 tiles, 949 glass panels and crystals, 13 km of aluminium profiles, and 1,306 sqm of carpet.
With a total cost of approximately 26,130,000 escudos (€ 130,336) and a total useful floor area of ​​7,717 sqm, it was built in two years – the first stone was laid by the founder on 15 September 1967, on his birthday, and the building was inaugurated on 8 December 1972 with an exhibition entitled First National Biennial of New Artists, which was an act of extraordinary public and social relevance, with the presence, among other individuals, of the then President of the Republic, Admiral Américo Thomaz .
The tower is lined externally, in all its length, by four tile panels, justified by Charters de Almeida, in his Descriptive Memory of the Cupertino de Miranda Foundation Decorative Ceramic Panels, published by the Cupertino de Miranda Foundation in 1971.


‘An allegory to Education and Arts: In this panel you can see a very large figure who seems to be floating without any kind of support and raises an element in the right hand in an attitude of Victory, something that could symbolise a beam or an organic element. On the left side of the panel – when you are facing it – you can see another element, linked to this figure, which symbolises a book, hinting at culture.At the bottom of the composition, there is a figure that can either suggest dancing or the fine arts through sculpture. On the right, there is another figure holding a musical instrument.
Therefore, in this South panel, I focused on: education, fine arts and rhythmic arts, and the whole composition is infused with a spirit of elevation, of triumph.’


‘Protection: In this panel, I wanted to focus on the Foundation’s humanitarian purposes highlighting protection. So, you can see two figures behind each other. The figure in the front seems to be naked and the one behind seems to be covering or hugging the other one.
Here the forms have a quieter, more collected “heartbeat”, which I felt to be closer to this whole idea.’ 


‘Man and the Universe: Everything in this world is made by man and for man. However great the perspective that man looks for in the Universe, we systematically find the relationship Man-Universe.
Thus, in this panel, there is a suggestion of a huge globe, given to us by that “background” and against that “background” one sees a human figure supporting another perfectly dominated globe. This domain is given to us by proportion.
There are also small dots scattered across the panel with which I intended to suggest the celestial space.’ 


‘Conjugation of efforts: For any idea to flourish, there must be a convergence of efforts. Convergence, by contrast or not, but convergence towards a single point. At this meeting point, there is flourishment. Therefore, this panel shows a figure laid out from top to bottom and another from bottom to top. In the point where these two figures intersect, leaves, fruits or flowers appear, hinting at that flourishing activity.’
There are also six smaller panels: These small panels are composed of fragments that appear to be part of larger panels. These are, so to say, the letters of an alphabet that I used to form the sentences of the large panels. They are shapes, shapes in all their abstraction, but fully defined and objectified in the large panels.
I have tried to compose all these panels with unity and balance, without, however, falling into monotony.’
Charters de Almeida also adds that: ‘I would much appreciate it if the true descriptive memory of my work was created by observation since I believe that a work of art should encourage the dialogue between itself and the observer.
And the best way for this to happen is for the observer to gradually discover and understand that work of art.’

Floor 0 Floor 1 Floor 2 Floor 6 Floor 7 e 8
Reception Centre for Portuguese Surrealism Library  Mário Cesariny exhibition Administration
Bookshop Museum Mário Cesariny's Room Cruzeiro Seixas exhibition  FCM Team
Auditorium Small Auditorium Literary Tower
(which extends helically to floor 5)
Julio exhibition  
Educational Service Meeting Room   Fernando Lemos exhibition