Belem Cultural Centre


Light is in close relationship with architecture, in a continuous exchange of values. The large public square of the Museum, reachable by a pedestrian path, is the fulcrum of the intervention: the permanent museum, the exhibition spaces for temporary exhibitions and the garden terraces host the cultural life of the city




Lisbon – Portugal


Gregotti Architects Associates

The Belem Cultural Center addresses the problem of establishing a large architectural project between a monumental building and a pre-existing urban fabric. The building with a longitudinal development of 400 meters has a predominantly horizontal layout, as an element of relationship between the monumental area of Belem and the tower of the same name on the banks of the Tagus. An axial pedestrian path on several levels organizes a system of spaces that reproduce the urban complexity, while maintaining the sequence of open spaces, a prevalent characteristic on the river front. The main pedestrian route is characterized by the rhythm of the sequence of differentiated spaces crossed and by the lateral views of the service roads that intersect it... The main front to the east conforms dimensionally to the Convento de Los Jeronimos... In this building there are in fact , divided into three blocks, the EEC Council, meeting rooms, all necessary service facilities, the large auditorium, a 1500-seat opera house and an exhibition center.
The pedestrian path finds the fulcrum of the intervention in the large public square of the Museum. Exhibition spaces for temporary exhibitions ( 8000 m2 ) are located below the square while the permanent museum rooms are located in the buildings that surround it. The garden terraces, overlooking the river and the city, host outdoor exhibitions.
( Joseph Rykwert, Gregotti Associati, Rizzoli 1995, pg. 80-86 )