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Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa

São Francisco Convent

  • Original Authors:
  • - / João Castilho / Custódio Vieira
  • (1212/ Séc. XVI / Séc. XVIII)

Founded in 1217 by Friar Zacarias, this building of convent structure had the royal authorization of King Afonso II, enduring transformations, extensions, reconstructions and surviving two fires and the 1775 earthquake. It has already been granted various roles, among which those of convent, hospital, military barracks and even library. At the present moment, this built ensemble is constituted by the volumes of the National Museum of Contemporary Art – Museu do Chiado, the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon and the National Academy of Fine Arts. With an irregular plan, the 4-storey building has its volumes organized around two rectangular cloisters and three patios, where the corridors and rooms show traces of the old cells. On the side overlooking Academia de Belas Artes Square, we see a façade whose rhythm comes from the regular spacing of the openings, whereas, on the opposite façade, the building shows a sort of wall punctured by openings overlooking Serpa Pinto Street. Four 17th century sculptures present in the cistern’s patio gather the visitor’s attention, as do the tiles. The main staircases still keep the wainscoting made of Rococo tiles, decorated with geometrical and floral motives.

Largo da Academia Nacional de Belas-Artes
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Palaces and Convents, Civic Facilities

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