2019 in review. 2020 opens-up a new chapter.
Updated: Jan 2
The construction boom that is transforming Lisbon's architecture and the city’s living standards is perhaps the most significant event of the decade. During the 2010s cranes became an intrinsic part of the urban landscape.
The main driving force behind new constructions and the renewal of historic buildings is real estate investment, which has grown enormously.
These developments have not created many interesting opportunities for architecture, nor have they favoured the recognition of young architects, who have been mostly working in refurbishments and interiors. Instead, they have benefited the offices that are best placed to deal with contractors and real estate agents.
There are however more projects and constructions in progress, both public and private, matching opportunities for innovation. We will continue to keep a closer eye on these developments.
The architecture practice is being impacted by other global trends, such as climate change and the growing role of technology. Projects became increasingly more complex, involving a broader range of expertise from an earlier stage on.
The Valmor Prizes awarded last April to the EDP Headquarters and the new Lisbon cruise terminal reflect this tendency to some extend (1)
Lisboa Architecture Walks & Trips has provided various guided visits to these ingenious constructions. In particular to architects and engineers working in leading Scandinavian companies, aware of the advantages of working with multidisciplinary teams.
Today's competitive companies want to be ready to provide the right expertise for each phase of every project.
In 2020 Lisboa will succeed Oslo as the next Green European Capital, and the subject has drawn the interest of architects, planners, engineers, among others. Lisboa Architecture Walks & Trips has organized insightful guided walks looking into some of the municipal projects implemented over the last decade, promoted as green or sustainable.
While maybe positive for the city's environment, major investments, such as the extension of the green urban areas and the improvement of public spaces and mobility infrastructures, have however speed up undesirable phenomena of gentrification and touristification.
These global trends, impacting the cities worldwide, became part of the academic curriculum in architecture and urban studies inside and outside Portugal.
Implementing the right to the city and adequate housing for all is still, and will remain to be a call to action in the 2020s.
The history of social housing in Portugal, continues to inspire professionals and students who have joined us in 2019.
The ever growing interest in the work of Álvaro Siza Vieira is paradigmatic. An architect who became internationally known for his projects in public housing.
45 years on, after the revolutionary SAAL, Siza remains the most renowned Portuguese architect. Over the past year he was awarded prestigious prizes - Grand Prix d’Architecture de l’Académie des beaux-arts / Charles Abella (April) and Premio Nacional de Arquitectura de España (Nov. 2019). More than deserved !
This year’s edition of the Open House Lisboa excluded all spaces in the old city centre. The theme Lisbon without a centre intended to decentralize, diversify and expand the selection of spaces. In 2019 the event opened the doors to 25 buildings that have never been included in previous editions.
Lisboa Architecture Walks & Trips shares this vision. Seeing the old centre of Lisbon as the heart of the city is a misunderstanding. Today’s Lisbon has many centres, of different origin and meaning.
The Lisbon of 2020 is a dynamic and heterogeneous cultural entity without walls or other clear physical boundaries. From the late 19th century, Lisbon grew far beyond the old centre, as much as the needs and opportunities of each epoch made it possible, at municipal and metropolitan level.
It is the understanding of this cultural entity that moves us. Knowing and promoting the cultural, social and political dynamics and agents that have shaped it and transformed it - and by doing so looking into architecture.
In 2020 we will propose new tours and events, focusing on relevant subjects and exploring new urban areas within the city and the greater Lisbon area.
We will also design attractive programs for trips around the most surprising constructions in other Portuguese regions like the Alentejo, Aveiro, Coimbra, and outside the major urban centres, in medium-sized cities and towns.
We look forward to welcoming you in one of our exploring walks and trips in Lisboa or in other regions of Portugal.
Feliz Ano Novo! wishing you a Happy New Year!
(1) The overall design of the EDP Headquarters is dominated by its outstanding structure, responding to a highly demanding program and an A+ energy performance.
In the new Lisbon’s cruise terminal, the constrains posed by pre-existent foundations led to the adoption of an innovative structural solution mixing concrete with cork which allowed to reduce the building weight with 40%.