"Being modern is just like being elegant: it is not a way a dressing, but a way a being."
José de Almada Negreiros
The generation of architects that authored the first modernist buildings in Portugal had a profound influence on the architectural culture of the city of Lisbon and on the country’s culture in general. This exhibition is dedicated to one among this distinguished generation of architects born in the 1890s, the so-called 90s generation: Porfírio Pardal Monteiro and his proposal for the headquarters of Banco de Portugal in 1936, which never came to fruition.
A model of this project remained, which has been restored and is now exhibited in the old church of São Julião, a building that would not exist if the one envisaged by Pardal Monteiro had been completed. This object, which survived for decades, justifies a look at the architect and his reflection on the noble area that is Pombaline Baixa: all the paradoxes and chance occurrences, what was preserved and what was destroyed, that makes the city of Lisbon what it is today.
Following a municipal decision in the 1940s, the architects who were informed that they should look at 18th century architecture for their façades were unable to combine the austere Art Déco with the nationalist aesthetics of the dictatorship, because the new materials and the rationality that had irreversibly entered the building processes were modern, resulting in the architectural style português suave (soft Portuguese), sometimes softer than others.
In fact, the conflict between Pardal Monteiro and the precursors of urbanism and modern architecture was always close at hand, in São Julião, in the Pomabline Baixa. And even one of the most respected modernist architects in Portugal took his time to understand the modernity in the plan by Manuel da Maia and Eugénio dos Santos. Maybe being modern in Portugal was always a way of being, and largely a matter of skin.
Margarida Cunha Belém, 2019
Pardal Monteiro (1897-1957) - Architecture, pure and simple
From November 27 2019 until February 23 2020 - Now until March 1
Guided tour by curator Margarida Cunha Belém, Saturday, December 7 and January 18, at 3:00 pm (60 min.)
Advance booking required
Only in Portuguese
For adults and young people 14+
Other guided tours require advance booking
For more informations contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +351 213 213 240
Perspective of Banco de Portugal viewed from Praça do Município
Project by Pardal Monteiro (1936-1937)
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