Contemporary Portuguese architecture: four essential destinations

Internationally awarded, Portuguese contemporary architecture projects Portugal in the world. Several projects of world reference pass through the hands of Portuguese architects and examples of mastery are not missing. Today we share four that most attracted our attention.


The records of the first works of contemporary Portuguese architecture point to a time before 1950. However, the 25th of April (1974) is always referred to as the starting date from which this movement was driven.


Since the middle of the 20th century to the present day, several generations simultaneously have marked and continue to mark and subdivide contemporary Portuguese architecture. Manuel Taínha and Fernando Távora, Vitor Figueiredo and Álvaro de Siza, also passing by Gonçalo Byrne and, of course, Eduardo Souto Moura and Carrilho da Graça, are the main names that make Portugal a destination of choice in this style.


Initially, contemporary Portuguese architecture was characterized by a frequent recourse to a mythical past to be diluted due to the growing demand for consistent spatial planning. With the evolution of art, the past ended up leaving the masters behind and evolving to a new generation of architects.


Estádio do Braga

Contemporary Portuguese architecture via CM-Braga[/caption]

The home of the “guerreiros do Minho”, from Sporting Clube de Braga was initially a football stadium designed for Euro 2004 by the architect Eduardo Souto Moura and the engineer Rui Furtado. Winner of the Pritzker Prize 2011, the stadium is located on the slope of Monte Castro, on the outskirts of the urban area of Braga facing the Cávado River valley. This one of the most outstanding examples of contemporary Portuguese architecture.

The roof of the stadium is a stylistic reference to the bridges built by the Inca civilization in Peru, in order to illuminate the grass with natural light, preserving the natural quality of the lawn.

In 2004, this work received the Secil Award in the Architecture Category and in 2005 in the Civil Engineering Category. This stadium was referred to by the Financial Times as one of four examples of “beautiful grounds”.


Casa em Ourém

Contemporary Portuguese architecture via Archdaily[/caption]

Filipe Saraiva designed his own house – for himself and his family. This decision gave him the distinction of International Architecture Awards in 2018. Casa de Ourém is a masterpiece of contemporary Portuguese architecture, developed from the most elementary drawing done by a child: 5 lines (a triangle and a rectangle) transferred to the real scale.

In Ourém, central Portugal, the house leaves no one indifferent. With black walls and wood, it is a house that reveals contemporaneity, innovation, and tradition. The geometry of the house captures the eye and fixes our soul, as soon as we realize that it arises from a loving idea about the concept of home and all that it means.


Casa das Mudas (Madeira)

Contemporary Portuguese architecture via Pinterest[/caption]

Conceived by Paulo David, an architect from Madeira, known as “Mudas”. This is the Museum of Contemporary Art. In other words, a modern building and awarded because of its architecture and perfect integration with the landscape.

Designed to enhance the visibility of the contemporary art collection in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, from the 1960s until today, this building included the participation of several renowned national artists. Throughout the years, there have also been numerous temporary exhibition projects, followed by different cultural programs in the auditorium.

The building is fantastic, it punctuates the landscape, placing itself on the front line of a hill that ends abruptly over the sea. Making use of the terraced topography, the volcanic basalt that the island provides, and the wonderful view over the Atlantic, Casa das Mudas reveals itself in its multiple spaces organized in communion with nature, including a library and a restaurant.


Terminal de Cruzeiros de Leixões


Our journey through contemporary Portuguese architecture ends at the Leixões Cruise Terminal. Much more than a workplace, this is an internationally recognized work by Luís Pedro Silva, winner in the public architecture category at the awards of the American publication ArchDaily in 2016 and at the AZ awards of Azure magazine (in the same year).


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