Architects in the race to win theatre redevelopment bid

A LISBON firm of architects is the winner of the first phase of a competition to redevelop the city’s rundown Parque Mayer theatreland district.

Aires Mateus and Associates was chosen by a unanimous jury out of 27 candidates for the Lisbon Câmara-launched competition.

The project, unveiled publicly last week, involves enlarging the current Lisbon Botanical Gardens, which back onto the old vaudeville site.

However, despite now being the front runner, the architects, based in Lisbon’s Rato area of town, join another four possible contenders for the second phase of the competition, the winner of which will be announced in August.

Of the 27 projects submitted, the Aires Mateus one joins projects proposed by architects Nuno Mateus ARX Portugal (2nd place), Vão Arquitectos Associados (3rd place), Souto Moura Architects (4th place) and Gonçalo Byrne (5th place).

Despite being very different in their visual aspects and concepts, the five architects have been given one central guideline: optimising the economic, ecological, socio-cultural and architectural aspects of the projected redevelopment site.

The President of the Jury, architect Nuno Portas, pointed out that the “present phase of the competition was not a detailed one.”

He said that a lot of different proposals had been considered, some which laid emphasis on green open spaces, others which put more emphasis on commercially viable buildings.

The Aires Mateus project is based around two fundamental ideas: extending the Botanical Gardens as far as possible into the project and combining it with squares and streets linking up with various points of the city centre.

The famous Capitólio Theatre will remain a central reference point, the renovation and use of which will be subject to another architectural project.

The main square incorporating the theatre will focus on performing arts and cultural activities.

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