Portugal Architecture

Portugal Architecture and Archaeology

Architecture. – Even from the point of view of the history of architecture, that of 1974 can be considered a significant date, which separates two very different periods, even if the style of the Portuguese architects followed more closely the general movements of world architecture than internal events of Portugal.

This is the case of F. Tavora, who had been the author of the Conceiçao park in 1957, clearly inspired by the forms of F.Ll. Wright, and whose refined rationalist conception, manifested in works such as his house in Ofir (1957) and the school of Vilanova de Gaia (1959), was maintained after 1974, revealing itself for example. in the restoration of the convent of Santa Marinha de Costa (1985) where historical and modern styles are pleasantly superimposed. It can be noted, however, that after the ‘Carnation Revolution’ of 1974, an identity was sought with greater force, a national architecture based on the very pleasing forms of Portuguese folk architecture or the great periods of national architecture, like the Romanesque, the Manueline and the Baroque. The result was a happy fusion of rationalist and postmodern tendencies, which one can grasp eg. in the group of 2500 houses for the Fundo de Fomento in Setúbal, built between 1975 and 1983 by the architects J. Charters Monteiro, J. da Nobrega Sousa Martino and others; in the Alverca Cooperative built between 1976 and 1983 by D. Cabral de Mello, M. Chalbert, V. Bravo Ferreira and MM Godinho de Almeida; or in the restructuring of the spontaneous neighborhood of Casal das Figueiras in Setúbal (1979-83), the work of G. Byrne, in which the naive forms of spontaneous architecture are combined with sophisticated modern lines. Other notable examples of contemporary Portuguese architecture are the newly built neighborhood built between 1977 and 1984 by J. Carrillo da Graça and A. Pires Martins in Alter do Chao (Alto Alentejo) and two works by A. Dias (Centro Commerciale by Vila do Conde, 1983. For Portugal public policy, please check petsinclude.com.

The group of architects that has had the greatest resonance even outside the Portugal is constituted by the so-called School of Porto, formed by A. Siza Vieyra, J. Gigante, E. Souto de Moura, V. Moutinho and A. Soutinho. Among the works of Siza Vieyra, who is the best known creator of this architecture having also won several international competitions, we remember the Boa Nova restaurant, the Casa Rocha in Maia, the Leca swimming pool in Matosinhos (1982), the Borges Bank and Irmao in Vila do Conde (1982-86), the Duarte House in Ovar (1983), the Porto School of Architecture (1985); since 1989 Siza has also been involved in the major restoration project of the Chiado district of Lisbon, which was hit hard by a fire. Moutinho is the author of the Estarreja Fire Station (1984), while Gigante designed the Porto post office building and the Fafel / Lamego public housing group (1980-82). Souto de Moura is the author of one chalets in Genēs (1983), the interesting Braga market (1983), with simple lines and great functionality, and the Nevogilde series of houses in Porto (1984-86). Soutinho should be remembered for the successful conversion of the convent of San Gonçalo in Amarante into an art museum, designed in 1973 and built between 1980 and 1983. The mention of other architects, such as C. Chuva Gomes (Moradia house in Maita, 1989) and N. Ribeiro Lopes (house in Evora, 1983), completes the overview of this interesting period of Portuguese architecture, characterized as a whole by a correct mastery of the trade and the intelligent adoption of the prevailing styles in international architecture.

Archaeology. – The recent archaeological investigations carried out in Portugal, and in particular in Conimbriga, Scallabis and Mirobriga, were aimed at acquiring new knowledge relating to pre-Roman settlements. In Mirobriga, in Castello Velho, the remains of a temple dating back to the 4th century BC have been identified, consisting of a small quadrangular building to which a temenos was later added The building was abandoned in the 2nd century BC and replaced in the following century by a new temple which is composed of a cell, a pronaos and a temenos. One of the Roman settlements on which more data is available is that of Conimbriga, where the findings testify to different levels of occupation. Below the Augustan forum, the only one completely excavated in Portugal, traces of the pre-Roman settlement have been found. A subsequent forum is ascribed to the Flavian period and the construction of an imposing thermal plant to the Trajan period.

Despite the numerous studies on the subject, the reconstruction of the town’s road system remains a problem, just as the data on rural life in Roman times are insufficient. The economy was based on agriculture but mining activities were also important, in particular related to gold, copper, iron, tin, lead, and some industrial activities such as the production of garum.

Numerous villas (Torre de Palma, Cucufate, Pisoes) belonging to the large estates that characterized the economy of Portugal have been identified in the Alentejo and the Algarve. One of the most important Roman monuments is the villa of Cucufate, whose first layout dates back to the 1st century AD. In the first half of the 2nd century AD the villa was rebuilt around a peristyle. It consists of a two-storey rectangular building, with the facade characterized by a long terrace which is accessed via three flights of stairs. The building was destroyed in the 4th century AD to make way for a new construction used in medieval times as a monastery.

Another large villa, which occupied an area of ​​15,000 m 2, is located in Milreu. It consists of a peristyle on which an apsed room opens (probably to be identified with a triclinium), a spa with mosaics depicting fish and a private living area organized around an atrium. The rustic part includes the agricultural and service structures. In the area of ​​the villa two mausoleums and a temple dedicated to water activities were also found, placed on a podium decorated with mosaics and surrounded on all sides by a portico. Among the sculptural finds from the villa of Milreu we should mention four marble busts with portraits of Agrippina, Adriano, Gallieno and a woman of the Flavian age. The last reconstruction of the villa dates back to the 4th century AD, but excavations and finds show that the site was already occupied in the 1st or 2nd century AD.

Numerous fortified structures have been found in the Alentejo, which were believed to be small fortresses. Only recently has it been confirmed that it is a particular type of villa. Two of them, in Lousa and Monte do Manuel Gallo, have been excavated. That of Lousa has a rectangular plan measuring 23 × 20 m, with 2 m thick walls and a single access on the eastern side. The rooms, with an irregular plan and characterized by long and narrow windows, are arranged around a central courtyard equipped with a cistern. The findings show that the site was occupied from the 1st century BC until a good part of the following century.

As regards the plastic arts, some granite figures, dated to the 1st century AD, found in Minho and southern Galicia, should be noted, portraying a standing male figure with helmet, dagger and shield held on the front. Generally defined as “Gallic or Lusitanian warriors”, they seem to represent tribal chiefs or princes. The patrimony of mosaics has also recently been enriched thanks to the examples, of excellent workmanship, found in the villa of Moroicos.

Portugal Architecture