Lisbon's Brutalist architecture

Posted on March 2, 2015 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation


In recent years, Brutalist architecture has made an unexpected comeback. Eyesore or masterpieces? It is all relatively subjective. In Lisbon, there are some fine examples that are worth exploring if you are interested in this type of architecture:

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation - The foundation is a vast complex that houses Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, which was constructed in 1969 by Alberto Pessoa, Pedro Cid and Ruy Athouguia. The austere horizontal concrete structure contains a world-class art museum, auditoriums, offices and a library which sits above an underground world of conservation, study and storage.


 Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Museu Calouste GulbenkianCalouste Gulbenkian Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation P1120077Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation


I think the highlight of this complex is its serene modern park designed by landscape architect Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles. The contrast between the cold concrete structure and the beautiful landscape is what makes this place intriguing. The complex would look rather depressing without the lawn, bamboo forests, exotic plants, ponds and hidden streams; and it demonstrates how nature and landscape can alter our environment dramatically.


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The later addition to the complex is Centro de Arte Moderna in 1983, which was designed by British architect, Sir Leslie Martin (famous for London's Royal Festival Hall). This outstanding multifunctional space is bright and airy with floor to ceiling windows that overlook the tranquil pond outside. You can also see the interior of the building from my previous post entry here.


Palácio da Justiça Palácio da Justiça Palácio da JustiçaPalácio da JustiçaPalácio da Justiça Palácio da Justiça

Palácio da Justiça


I was walking through Edward VII Park one day and I suddenly noticed a conspicuous concrete structure from afar. Moments later I was standing underneath it and feeling quite 'insignificant'.

This massive and imposing modernist architecture is the Palácio da Justiça or Palace of Justice (Rua Marquês da Fronteira 1098 - 001), constructed between 1966-1969 and designed by Januário Godinho and João Andresen. The architects adopted a highly original conceptual language, and they combined it with new materials employed in its construction. Personally, I think the beauty of this structure lies in its subtle details, i.e. the repetitive patterns of squares, rectangles and circles used throughout exterior, as well as on the ground (large overlapping circles).


liberty seguros lisbon

Liberty Seguros Building 


Another of my accidental discovery was the Liberty Seguros Building (Av. Fontes Pereira de Melo, 6), designed by António Gomez Egêa and Ionel Schein from 1966-70.

This 14-storey office building (formerly the Edíficio Winterthur) has a rather unique zig-zag facade, in which all the windows are angled downwards, thereby creating a serrated surface. I am particularly curious in regards to the amount of sunlight that penetrates into the building. I would love to see the interior of this building, and enjoy the spectacular view of the city from its rooftop.



This post was posted in Architecture, Travel, Design, Modernist & Art Deco, Lisbon, Portuguese design and was tagged with Brutalism, modernist architecture, Portugal, Lisbon