Concrete Spiral of History

    Museum expansion


    Lisbon, Portugal

The National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon needed a library, a small gift shop, and a new entrance to the upper floors, which housed ancient Indo-Portuguese wood and bone furniture, as well as a large collection of Chinese vases. These resources were intended to be used as part of the overall concept. The design was created with the addition of a new outdoor building for the direction, a café, and a small meeting room.

The materiality proposed for the new elements was directly linked to the ancient furniture intricate work of wood, bone and stone, in texture and palette of shapes and interconnections.
The interior library for the main lobby of the existing museum building was thought as a veil floating upwards and linking with stairs in height the 3 levels of the museum, under the diluted light descending from the central lucernarium. The white ceramic cladding on the exterior of this shape, echoes the existing great Portuguese brands Viúva Lamego and Vista Alegre and transports this relapse and glimmer of light in a serene glow across the galleries. Contrasting with an interior of clear textured wood closer to the warmth of a hand following a handrail along this interior line of history.
The new building outside proposes this loop as an urban device to connect the linearity and focus on the distance conveyed in Rua das Janelas Verdes, with the calm and expanded horizontal views proposed on the garden and views of Tejo river and the horizon across where the navels and ships went and come, composing with these loop across the oceans what we now call the ancient history of Portugal.


Ministry of Culture - Portuguese Government

Project Leader

Francesco Ugolotti




Isabel Ramos


Carlos Lobão (3D)