Barbas Lopes Arquitectos is an architectural practice based in Lisbon, Portugal. Barbas Lopes Arquitectos was founded by Patricia Barbas and Diogo Lopes in 2006. In their practice, they collaborate with other architects such as Peter Markli and Goncalo Byrne.
The reconversion of the Thalia Theatre in Lisbon is one of the most regarded projects of Barbas Lopes Arquitectos. Their practice is engaged in realized projects or under development projects including public and private buildings, exhibition designs, single-family housing, and interiors.
Their work has been published by international media and magazines such as Baumeister, Bauwelt, Blueprint, Casabella, Icon, Domus. Their work was nominated for Icon Awards 2012, Mies van der Rohe 2013, and Designs of the Year 2013.
Patricia Barbas holds a Diploma in Architecture from FAUTL, Lisbon. She collaborated with Aires Mateus, Goncalo Byrne, and Joao Pedro de Campos during her practice. She was a project coordinator for Promontorio Architects in Salvador da Bahia during 2005-2006. Diogo Lopes completed architecture at FAUTL, Lisbon, and his doctorate at ETH, Zurich. He was a guest professor at DARQ.FCTUC, Coimbra.
The design philosophy of Barbas Lopes Arquitectos revolves principally around the context of Portugal; small, yet boundless. Portugal has a great richness of architectural tradition. The concept of plain architecture and the ability to do more with less has been their greatest asset, especially when resources are scarce. Since 2006, Barbas Lopes Arquitectos has been working under these guidelines and has completed several projects.
Here are 15 such projects by Barbas Lopes Arquitectos:
1. House ML, Benavente, Portugal
Located an hour away from Lisbon, this single-family house is a property surrounded by eucalyptus and pine trees. The vicinity of the countryside is immersed by faux villas and lawns. With a clearing in the woods, the house stands upon a platform. The house looks like a square concrete box standing on four pillars which house a single floor that is divided into strips.
The exposed concrete timber framework provides a rough look of the house. The wooden partitions are made in dry joinery. The large glass panes of the inner patios and the exterior cast reflections and transparencies reveal the interior.
2. Apartment LA, Lisbon, Portugal
A fully refurbished spacious apartment in Lisbon is a classic case of traditional housing. Built in the 1960s, the housing is a clutter of concrete beams running along a maze of corridors with a wooden ensemble. The renovation embraced certain spatial eccentricities instead of the axiomatic minimalist renders.
Paved with beige terrazzo, the circulation is clustered in two connecting halls. The rooms are decorated with velvety wallpaper, penny mosaic tiles, and colored ceilings. Parquet floors connect to a thick baseboard carrying ducts.
The original carpentry of the apartment was altered to mahogany steps and frames. The interior of the apartment revitalizes a posh sense of style. The revamping softens the old and new architecture.
3. Cultergest Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal
This traveling exhibition about museums built or planned was designed simplistically. The pedestals were requested to set up models on display. Cultergest is a cultural foundation in Lisbon where the entire spatial layout worked with the contents within Cultergest.
The exhibition was arranged according to a timeline and geographic regions – Europe, Japan, Australia, and America. It started with the Museumsinsel in Berlin, an early paragon of this typology, ending with the Eyebeam Museum of New York, and a digital update of this kind of institution.
The pedestals were built in plywood like white drum-like props that resembled the shafts of columns, while the plexiglass of the model formed the capitals and a colonnade of museums.
4. Apartment BA, Lisbon, Portugal
Located in a captivating residential area from the 1930s in Lisbon, this apartment is designed in art deco interiors. The colored shutters of the building acquired their name from Bairro Azul – “The Blue District”.
The zigzag framings of the window and the indented rails of the interior laid the motif for the design. The tweed pattern of the wood flooring tilts the geometry and changes the visuals of the room.
Bathrooms are designed with concave chambers with chamfered ceramic tiles. The upholstered wardrobes appear to be giant trunks. These elements are inserted as luxury follies with spatial setbacks as a sign of status.
5. Novartis Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal
The curation and production of the second edition of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale were held at this exhibition. It presented buildings designed by Álvaro Siza, Eduardo Souto de Moura, and Peter Markli for the Novartis campus in Basel. The display conveyed the character of the pharmaceutical corporation as well as its impact on the architects.
Aluminum models of the buildings were displayed on a podium similar to the alter-piece of the basilica. The space felt empty apart from the steel panels with technical drawings and photographs of the buildings.
6. Polytechnical Theatre, Lisbon, Portugal
A structure from the 1920s, this building has been used as a cafeteria and an assembly hall for students. The reuse of the long and narrow premises was used to host a local theatre company, called United Artists. The assembly was composed of two symmetrical wings with a series of arched windows, where each of these naves was transformed into a black box.
One of them holds a seating of 140 people, while the other provides for rehearsals and exhibitions. The reception hall painted in cadmium yellow signals a tribute to Giangiacomo Feltrinelli at the entrance of both wings.
7. Thalia Theatre, Lisbon, Portugal
Opened in the 1840s, the Thalia Theatre is located on the outskirts of Lisbon. It was a venue of leisure for a local aristocrat, but it burned down shortly after and remained dilapidated since then. The place was transformed into a multipurpose arena for conferences, concerts, and exhibitions.
The exterior was encased with terracotta concrete to retain the old structure. Although, the interior remained as it were, untouched. Facing the street nearby, the adjacent single storey pavilion was glazed entirely with gilded glass.
The theatre mirrors the context around and combines the old and new parts of the building into an urban ensemble with views to nearby sites.
8. Apartment VS, Lisbon, Portugal
This small apartment was renovated to effectuate the client’s needs and whim. The design was greatly influenced by his persona of a psychoanalyst and a publisher. The concept inculcated two thin slabs of green polished marble forming a corner to separate the living room from the entrance.
A stainless steel structure with shelves that provides room for appliances was bolted to one of these partitions. The spatial flow of the apartment was revamped while being modest to the scale. This way, the privacy to the living room was secured while sorting out the details of the apartment.
9. House SC, Lisbon, Portugal
Located in a traditional residential area of Lisbon, this house is made up of the ground floor and first floor of a building from the 1940s, including three additional floors. The standards for construction were equitable, specifically for the first floor.
Hence, most of its layout was retained, assigned to living quarters, with finishing as wood framings and parquet floors. Hence, the ground floor underwent an exquisite makeover.
Formerly a warehouse, considering the depth of space, the light entering the space was an important consideration. It was resolved by large glass panes overlooking a swimming pool with a garden as well as a courtyard next to the kitchen. The house proceeds from public to private as it goes from the front to the back, unveiling a distinct ambiance.
10. Abraxas Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal
This exhibition was a collaboration between Nuno Cera and Barbas Lopes Arquitectos. The show was meant to address the topic of theatre by combining architecture and photography. Thalia Theatre in Lisbon was chosen as the setting for this exhibition. Abraxas was a housing project designed by Ricordo Boffil, with three parts – the Palace, the Ark, the Theatre, on the outskirts of Paris.
The exhibition included a silk-screened image, a soundtrack, and a video projection, all from Abraxas. The tripod was set up according to the geometry of the two buildings, which ended by fusing two arts together – Abraxas and Thalia.
11. SAAL Exhibition, Oporto, Portugal
SAAL ( Local Ambulatory Support Service) was a seminal, short-lived episode of Portuguese architecture. Just after the Carnation Revolution of 1974, it rallied architects to help the population through political participation.
The exhibition avoided any kind of aesthetics of promulgation. The focus was concentrated on the venue, Serralves Museum in Porto, designed by Alvaro Siza. As a reference for the display, a continuous beige line was painted on the wall. In some areas, white rubber mats and lacquered wooden stairs replicated the small scale of dwelling units.
12. NC Support Family, Portugal and Luxembourg
Support Family was a collaboration between Nuno Cera and Barbas Lopes Arquitectos for the Abraxas Exhibition. A wood structure was designed to frame the silk-screened image.
Another exhibition was designed in Luxembourg. The materials and expression are being kept simple; wood, brass, and steel.
13. Barao de Santos Palace, Lisbon, Portugal
After the 18th earthquake, this was one of Lisbon’s expansion areas. A 4-floor comprehensive building with material, spatial and historical qualities, and the strategy was to respect the Palace’s morphology to create one apartment per floor with generous areas.
The design is made in a continuous timeline with new areas that needed more interventions, and are blended with the existing features with a terrace on the last floor and a swimming pool in the basement.
14. FPM 41, Lisbon Portugal
FPM 41 is a project for an office building and the surrounding areas for the business district in Lisbon. The concept is to design a timeless building, clear and flexible to face any kind of phenomenon.
The central aspects of this project revolve around constructive rationality, layout flexibility, environmental comfort, and good energy performance. This awareness was the key to designing the surrounding landscape and building, such as a custom-made modular facade, location of the double-height lobby, Public Square, or the assimilation of public and private spaces.
15. Samedan Residence, Switzerland
Located in Samedan, Switzerland, this is a residence of over 140 individual rooms for the elderly. The residence comprises three longitudinal buildings, parallel to each other that run along a sloped terrain behind a hospital. The Samedan residence, with a mesmerizing view of the alps, has tucked the public spaces in between the structure that includes a plaza, an entrance boulevard, a garden, and a unit for dementia. The concept for the residence was to tilt the room southwards, for better solar exposure and views, ultimately creating a zigzag lineation to the facades. This concavity fractionalized the length of the building, making each part unique. The use of reinforced concrete for the structure, clad with precast concrete panels, and larch wood framing in different colors to identify each sector of the residence orchestrates a picturesque design.