The design comprises the façade renovation of a 1980s disqualified residential building that since inception was occupied as a bank office building. This corner of Lisbon is particularly notable in the city from a cultural perspective. Not only does the visible of the site grant it an iconic character per se, but the fact as well that its opposite corner buildings of Franjinhas and Castil —respectively designed by Francisco Conceição Silva and Teotónio Pereira/ Braula Reis and listed as “monuments of public interest”— were highly relevant to the debate and history of modern architecture in Portugal.
From this vantage point, the tenets of our proposal aim towards a building identity that is discreet and subtle, yet solid and elegant. Being admittedly contemporary, it is also evocative of the periods that mostly define this area of Lisbon in particular, namely Art Nouveau and Art Deco of Avenidas Novas (and of Rua Braamcamp in particular). In addition, we thought that, in a post-Covid era and as the city’s air becomes less polluted, the possibility using operable windows and accessing balconies is something that future tenants would appreciate. Tectonically, the design is based on the use of robust materials, easy and quick to apply with low maintenance and high durability; GRC panels made with Lisbon’s stone “Lioz” in terrazzo finish; slim aluminium frames in anodized bronze finish; with metal railings in similar bronze metallization and RAL colour. This set of materials, in addition to the qualities already mentioned, has the advantage of being a system well known in our industry, and familiar to most construction companies in the national market. Based on this, we have chosen to limit the glass area to about 40% of the total surface, which still offers large windows. The latter are to be equipped with exterior electric screen blinds, which we deem as the best and simplest window shading system by preventing right from the outside the heat to reach the building.
Finally, for the building’s 78 lintels, we proposed a permanent art installation by artist Joao Louro, the Portuguese representative at the 56th Venice Art Biennale, whose work is consistently renown for working with narratives and texts of different authors (Blind Images). The Louro’s proposal draws a possible cartography of notable figures related to literature, poetry and thought; a constellation of 20th-century authors identified with an idea of humanism and the search for the construction of a better society. Figures that inspire us are evoked and enter the daily lives of everyone who passes this corner. As noted by the artist, “like a letter from the skies that sparkles to the rhythm of human breath, the metallic letters on the façade are backlit with a LED system and light up randomly like stars in a constellation”. Here and there, discreetly, the names appear with a small halo of light around the metal, inviting the observation and curiosity of the passer-by.
Façade renovation (competition, 2nd-prize), 2020