Chiado Public Space . Carmo Connection


2008 - 2015


Portugal, Lisboa




It’s twenty years later and the renovation of Chiado continues to be necessary.
Every city needs a fire to facilitate new plans and subsequent renovation.
The reconstruction project for the area of Chiado that was destroyed in the fire has been implemented slowly.

Some of the buildings that had been “fire-damaged” got left out as did other buildings that were not “fire-damaged” but were in need of urgent attention, like many others outside the intervention area.
Also remaining to be completed was the connection of Patio B with the ruins of the Church of Carmo, the Carmo Square and the Santa Justa Lift.

It is important to complete the urban logic of the route, re-making what was there before, re-vitalizing abandoned spaces, forgotten spaces, neglected backland spaces that are also part of the city.

Twenty years have passed since the original invitation and Álvaro Siza has once again been called on to complete this part of the Plan and extend it to the area now known as the Carmo Terraces, which correspond to the existing platforms to the East of the Church and Convent of Carmo and the GNR Military Barracks, currently occupied by makeshift housing and poor-quality buildings.

Twenty years have gone by and I too find myself back in Chiado, taking ground levels, interpreting drawings, visiting work that has been carried out and also some that is yet to be done.

The Plan to link Patio B and the Carmo Square and Carmo Terraces, started as a single entity. Important protocols and agreements were arranged and the preparatory design work began.

Almost immediately, it became necessary to sub-divide the work into two parts: one corresponding to the connection of Patio B with the Carmo Square and the other corresponding to its connection with the Carmo Terraces.

The Plan, which has now been approved by the relevant authorities, strays very little from the original idea as defined in the Plan for the Fire-Damaged Area of Chiado. Some adjustments were made, in consequence of new premises and a better knowledge of the facts.

The route remains the same and will allow you to go down to Rua do Carmo or Rua Garrett from the
Carmo Square via ramps and stairs and also using a public lift that was included in the renovation of the Leonel Building, which partially supports the access bridge to and from the Santa Justa Lift.

The area of intervention was extended as far as the building know as Palácio Valadares or Escola Veiga Beirão, generating urban character, facilitating new routes and making it livelier.

Simultaneously with the design work, the archaeological and anthropological teams were excavating spots that we felt were essential to determine and verify levels, to establish what was there and to confirm convictions and interpretations.

The results were surprising and did confirm convictions and lead to corrections to ground levels and adaptation to what was pre-existing.

Further excavations will be necessary and further design studies, so that history rounds out the information, enriches the urban quality and supports the Plan.

Further studies will follow to support the detailed design projects, the demolition of the buildings of the Carmo Terraces and the second phase of this project.
Complexity in the investigations and the challenges and in the search for solutions.


Carlos Castanheira

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Álvaro Siza


Carlos Castanheira

Office in Portugal:          

CC&CB – Architects, Lda.

Project Team:

(Schematic design)

Filomena Nascimento

Luísa Sarmento

Project Architect:

(Design development-construction drawings)

Pedro Carvalho

Project Team:  

Marta Oliveira

Diana Vasconcelos

Sara Pinto

Susana Oliveira

Fernanda Sá

Engineering projects:


Projects Organization Office, Lda.


Fernando Guerra FG+SG

Fotografia de Arquitectura


2017– Valmor Municipal Architecture Prize, from  Lisbon City Council, concerning to the best project of the year : 2015