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Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa

4th Edition, 2015

Curatorial Text

The origins of Lisbon are lost in time, as proven by evidences from the Neolithicperiod dating back ten thousand years before Christ. Celts, Romans, Germans, Alans, Vandals, Suevi, Visigoths and Moors came through Libon, until the city was finally incorporated into the Kingdom of Portugal following its conquest by king Afonso Henriques in 1147.

While the temporary or permanent presence of these peoples is a tangible part of the city’s history, several theories and legends have intensified its aura of lingering mystery throughout the centuries, namely those regarding the origin of its pre-Roman name: Olisipo. The Phoenicians and even the Greek hero Ulysses are often mentioned.

Between fact, fiction and countless temporal layers, Lisbon has become a palimpsest cradled by an undulating topography along the Tagus. Travellers are spellbound and not even residents escape the city’s magical hold.

Lisbon’s long and eventful history also becomes apparent in the architecture that crystalizes the various circumstances and cultural moments the city has experienced.

Surprising in its technical excellence, this architecture remains nevertheless either inaccessible or unknown to most Lisbon dwellers.

From the São Jorge Castle hillsides to the seven hills, from Pombal’s Downtown to Belém, to the “new avenues” of Avenidas Novas to the Alvalade – Alameda axis, or Parque das Nações, Lisbon possesses a fascinating spectrum of built testimonies to different cultural periods. From Romanic to the native-Portuguese Manueline style, from Mannerism to Rococo, from Romanticism to contemporary, there is a vast heritage to explore.

In keeping with its three previous editions, Open House Lisboa proposes a tour of 70 such testimonies to the city’s architectural excellence, opening up to the audience at large places and sites that are usually not available or not known to them. And, although around three million tourists visit the city every year, this programme is essentially aimed at Lisbon dwellers.

Because in order to understand cities we must engage them from a distanced, overall perspective, the 2015 edition suggests this very outlook, through strategic vantage points located above Lisbon’s topography. This overall look is completed by visits to key areas representing urban planning milestones.

On yet another level, if visits to buildings and sites encompass a large temporal arch, the typologies selected are those that most significantly showcase the city’s identity, whether they are renovations and repurposed sites or original constructions: palaces, public buildings, infra-structure, engineering works, private homes, churches and gardens.

Integrated in the Open House Worldwide network, Open House Lisboa made its début in 2012 as a Lisbon Architecture Triennale initiative, following the original idea created by Victoria Thornton in 1992 for Open House London.

After the first Open House Porto in July, co-organized by the Triennale, Casa da Arquitectura and the Municipalities of Porto, Gaia and Matosinhos, our Open House 2015 will come full-circle in this October in Lisbon.

Board and Staff

Open House Lisboa 2015

Coordination OH Lisboa
Inês Marques
Volunteer Programme
Susana Gaudêncio (coordinator)
Ruben Castro
Communication Design
Van Condensed by Ricardo Santos
Rute Paredes
Susana Pomba
Inês Meneses
Building Pictures


Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa

José Mateus, Chairman
Nuno Sampaio, Vice-Chairman
José Manuel dos Santos, Member
Maria Dalila Rodrigues, Member
Pedro Araújo e Sá, Member

Deputy Director
Manuel Henriques

Management Assistant
Helena Soares

Communication and Press
Sara Battesti (coordinator)
Cláudia Duarte (press)
Raquel Guerreiro (graphic design)
Daniella Figueiredo

Isabel Antunes (coordinator)
Inês Marques
Liliana Lino
Sofia Baptista
Fundraising and Partnerships
Luísa Santos (coordinator)
Joana Salvado


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