Christ & Gantenbein

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation . Lisbon

Christ & Gantenbein . Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation . Lisbon afasia (1)

Christ & Gantenbein

The international competition invited to design the expansion of the gardens of the Gulbenkian Foundation and the new entrance of the Modern Collection of the Gulbenkian Museum (CAM). Christ & Gantenbein proposed to partially demolish the current entrance hall and the café to generously open the park towards the south and to free the Modern Collection building from any annexes. With the integration of the South Apex into the «Gulbenkian Park», the park can be live back in its historical size. Thus, the museum does not confine the park anymore, it literally stands in the park, allowing the visitor to simply find his way from the northern to the southern part.


The CAM’s new entrance will be spatially and visually related to the street, as a welcoming gesture, clearly visible from the street through the trees. The spatial connection between inside and outside, and the generosity of the space are emphasized through the use of concrete and glass, which follows the vocabulary of the Gulbenkian architecture. The new entrance situation is created by adding a spatial layer towards the south along its entire length. This new layer forms an entrance canopy with café and reception functions such as ticketing. Furthermore, it adds to the museum an underground flexible and 5m high exhibition hall with state of the art conditions as a complement to the existing exhibition spaces.

With the new entrance, the building is accessed on the level of the upper mezzanine. The movement through the building mainly follows a transversal axis across the section, which strengthens the spatial relationships and increases flexibility.

The new canopy will serve as a display for projections and announcements, interacting with the different activities taking place in this space: ticketing, café, bookshop, performance, readings, openings, performances or installations. This additional functional layer will also serve as a climatic buffer. The exhibition rooms are climatically separated from the canopy, but thanks to glazing and sliding doors which can be completely opened, the optical relation pertains. Furthermore, these several adjacent exhibition entrances allow to divide the space into independently accessible exhibitions. The CAM canopy consists of a concrete roof, a row of columns, bronze-framed glazing and a basement. The columns are a layered construction of rammed concrete incorporating natural stone fragments from the dismantled southern park wall. With this materiality, the extension seeks a reference to the site, to nature and to the typical material found in the Gulbenkian Foundation architectural style, such as concrete and bronze.

The proposed concept creates a variety of overlays of different authors, styles and types of open space that respect the existing and develop it further, thus sensitively integrating the new requirements into the overall complex. The design of the extension area takes up two basic motifs of the historic garden: the clearings and the axis. Dense and open spaces are sequenced and complete the generous overall picture. The axis of the existing palace is taken up and strengthened without staging it too strongly. Framed by loosely set trees, it offers a view of the extension from the street.

Lisbon, Portugal
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Portugal
Culture, Museum, Transformation
1,660 m²
Emanuel Christ, Christoph Gantenbein; Anna Flückiger; Ellena Ehrl, Jonas Løland, Lucia Macri, Giorgio Notari, Margherita Sorgentone