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

House ML, Benavente, Portugal - Sheet1
View of the house ©DMF and Pedro Cláudio

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. 

House ML, Benavente, Portugal - Sheet2
Inner patios © DMF and Pedro Cláudio
House ML, Benavente, Portugal - Sheet3
Wooden partitions © DMF and Pedro Cláudio

2. Apartment LA, Lisbon, Portugal

Apartment LA, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet1
View of the corridor ©Steve Stoer

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.

Apartment LA, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet2
Interior of the apartment © Steve Stoer
Apartment LA, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet3
Use of mahogany in the interior © Steve Stoer

3. Cultergest Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal

Cultergest Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet1
Exhibition space ©DMF

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.

Cultergest Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet2
Exhibition space ©DMF
Cultergest Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet3
Colonnades of exhibition space ©DMF

4. Apartment BA, Lisbon, Portugal

Apartment BA, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet1
View of the interior ©DMF, Barbas Lopes Arquitectos

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.

Apartment BA, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet2
View of the interior ©DMF, Barbas Lopes Arquitectos
Apartment BA, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet3
View of the interior ©DMF, Barbas Lopes Arquitectos

5. Novartis Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal

Novartis Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet1
Entry to the exhibition ©DMF

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.

Novartis Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet2
Inside the exhibition ©DMF
Novartis Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet3
Contents of the exhibition ©DMF

6. Polytechnical Theatre, Lisbon, Portugal

Polytechnical Theatre, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet1
Polytechnical Exhibition ©DMF, Barbas Lopes Arquitectos

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.

Polytechnical Theatre, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet2
Theatre area ©DMF, Barbas Lopes Arquitectos
Polytechnical Theatre, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet3
Exhibition area ©DMF, Barbas Lopes Arquitectos

7. Thalia Theatre, Lisbon, Portugal

Thalia Theatre, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet1
The Thalia Theatre after renovation  ©DMF

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.

Thalia Theatre, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet2
The interior was left in the ruins ©DMF
Thalia Theatre, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet3
Single story pavilion with gilded glass ©DMF

8. Apartment VS, Lisbon, Portugal

Apartment VS, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet1
Entry to the apartment ©Barbas Lopes Arquitectos

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. 

Apartment VS, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet2
The green polished marble partition ©Barbas Lopes Arquitectos
Apartment VS, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet3
Interior of the apartment ©Barbas Lopes Arquitectos

9. House SC, Lisbon, Portugal

House SC, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet1
Entry to the house ©DMF

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.

House SC, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet2
Ground floor ©DMF
House SC, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet3
Interior areas ©DMF

10. Abraxas Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal

Abraxas Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet1
Iconography for the exhibition ©Nuno Cera

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.

Abraxas Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet2
Exhibition space ©Nuno Cera
Abraxas Exhibition, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet3
Exhibition space ©Nuno Cera

11. SAAL Exhibition, Oporto, Portugal

SAAL Exhibition, Oporto, Portugal - Sheet1
Exhibition space ©Jorge Trípa, Fundação de Serralves

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.

SAAL Exhibition, Oporto, Portugal - Sheet2
Exhibition space ©Jorge Trípa, Fundação de Serralves
SAAL Exhibition, Oporto, Portugal - Sheet3
Exhibition space ©Jorge Trípa, Fundação de Serralves

12. NC Support Family, Portugal and Luxembourg

NC Support Family, Portugal and Luxembourg - Sheet1
The wood structure ©Nuno Cera

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.

NC Support Family, Portugal and Luxembourg - Sheet2
The main piece ©Nuno Cera
NC Support Family, Portugal and Luxembourg - Sheet3
The main piece ©Nuno Cera

13. Barao de Santos Palace, Lisbon, Portugal

Barao de Santos Palace, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet1
Barao de Santos Palace ©DMF

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.

Barao de Santos Palace, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet2
The old features ©DMF
Barao de Santos Palace, Lisbon, Portugal - Sheet3
Work in progress ©DMF

14. FPM 41, Lisbon Portugal

FPM 41, Lisbon Portugal - Sheet1
FPM Avenue ©Nuno Cera, DMF

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. 

FPM 41, Lisbon Portugal - Sheet2
Building under construction ©Nuno Cera, DMF
FPM 41, Lisbon Portugal - Sheet3
Modular facade ©Nuno Cera, DMF

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.

Samedan Residence, Switzerland - Sheet1
Plan of the Samedan Residence © Barbas Lopes Arquitectos
Samedan Residence, Switzerland - Sheet2
Section through Samedan Residence ©Barbas Lopes Arquitectos

Abha Haval is an Architect who has a vivid imagination of this world. She believes that every place has a story to tell and is on a mission to photograph the undiscovered whereabouts of various cities and narrate the story of its existence.