Monday, 24 September 2012

Lisboa Open House

(Image by Pedro Sadio)

As mentioned last week, Open House season is on its way! The booking frenzy has already been and gone for Open House Dublin, and the programme has been launched for the latest international addition to the Open House Worldwide family: Lisbon! On 6 and 7 October (the same weekend as Dublin) over fifty buildings in that beautiful city I briefly called home open their doors for free architectural tours and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't bothered about missing it... Lisboa Open House is presented by the very busy people behind Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa/Lisbon Architecture Triennale (they've just launched the programme for the 2013 edition of the Triennale which is curated by a team headed up by Beatrice Galilee and will take place in various locations across Lisbon next autumn). The Lisboa OH programme encompasses old and new buildings and public, cultural and residential spaces in various neighbourhoods of the city. A number of places have already been featured on I Like Local and TILEWATCH (such as Cinema São Jorge, The Electricity Museum, Baixa-Chiado Metro Station and Largo do Intendente), while here are some other highlights:

Portuguese Art Deco
Cinema São Jorge, Old Hotel Vitória, Church of Fátima
While in Lisbon I visited an exhibition in Museu do Chiado called Art Deco: O Feliz Modernismo/The Happy Modernism in which the way Portugal embraced Art Deco in visual and graphic arts was explored. The curators of the show suggested that Art Deco's brightness and optimism was of great importance when it emerged during Portugal's military dictatorship (which lasted from the early part of the 20th century until 1974). Whether for similar reasons or not, Art Deco architecture features quite prominently in Portugal too. Three beautiful examples are on show during Lisboa OH: Cinema São Jorge and the Old Hotel Vitória on Avenida da Liberdade (pictured above) and the Church of Fátima, a striking church designed by Porfírio Pardal Monteiro in the 1930s, located on Avenida de Berna.

(Image via Museu da Água)

Water Water Everywhere...
Aguaduto das Águas Livres, Etar de Alcântara and Reservatório da Mãe d'Água das Amoreiras
I was really happy to see that Lisbon's aquaduct (Aguaduto das Águas Livres, pictured above), one of the most striking pieces of the city's infrastructure built back in the 1700s, features in the Lisboa OH programme, but it seems its being joined by two other sites of importance to the Lisbon region's water system. Etar de Alcântara is a recently modernised waste water treatment facility designed by Manuel Aires Mateus, Frederico Valsassina and João Nunes and completed just last year. Ultra contemporary and designed with environmental and visual impact in mind, it might be well worth comparing and contrasting it with Reservatório da Mãe d'Água das Amoreiras (below), a resevoir completed in 1834 by Carlos Mardel to collect and distribute water from the Aguaduto.

(Image via Museu da Água)

(Image via Francisco Aires Mateus)

Contemporary Architecture
Francisco Aires Mateus office, Baixa-Chiado Metro Station, Palácio Sinel de Cordes
Showing contemporary architecture is one of the best and most important aspects of an Open House festival, and Lisboa OH doesn't disappoint on this front. There are plenty of great contemporary spaces (residential and otherwise) on show over the 6 and 7 October, two of which I would really enjoy a tour of are Francisco Aires Mateus studio (above), a 1930s home remodelled and transformed in 2003 to become the studio of one of Portugal's most interesting architectural practices, and Baixa-Chiado, the city's deepest metro station, designed in 1998 by recent Golden Lion recipient Álvaro Siza Vieira. I've also included Palácio Sinel de Cordes in this category, though technically speaking, it's not a contemporary building. Palácio Sinel de Cordes was originally built in the mid-1700s and has gone through a number of uses (stately home, Italian embassy, primary school...). The building is now in the early stages of transformation into its next use - the home of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale and therefore the new home for contmporary architecture in Lisbon. A tour of the building will give a great insight not only into the building's past but its future too, and the bright future of the organisation inhabiting it.

(Image by Joana Cordeiro, all images courtesy of the Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa)

Lisboa Open House is presented by the Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa/Lisbon Architecture Triennale on 6 and 7 October. For more information visit the festival's website at See here for the I Like Local highlights of this year's Open House Dublin.