National Museum of Contemporary Art - Chiado Museum
Client : Portuguese Institute for Architectural and Archaeological Heritage (IPPAA)
Architect : Wilmotte & Associés SA
Coordinating architect : Joao Herdad, IPPAAR
Construction cost consultant : Marc Vareille
Area : 3,400 m²
Restructuring of the existing building, interior fit-out, and design of museum exhibition spaces.
The city of Lisbon suffered a fire on 25 August 1998 which resulted in the partial destruction of the historic district of Chiado in the city’s centre. France was asked by the Portuguese Institute for Cultural Heritage to take on the adaptation and renovation of the museum, renamed the Chiado Museum.
The Association for the Revival of the Chiado coordinated the different phases of work.
Restructured within the beautiful 18th century building that originally housed it, the new museum has seen the enlargement of its exhibition areas over several adjoining buildings.
Originally accessible via the garden, it now has a street entrance, fitted into an immense vaulted room. The visitor passes through the impressive reception lobby, then climbs a suspended staircase extended by two floating footbridges, which lead to the garden and the first exhibition room.
This room, the starting point of the museum circuit, is open on three levels, and functions as the articulation for the entire museum, serving the conservation offices, temporary exhibitions, garden, permanent exhibitions, library, café, and terrace.
The space reserved for temporary exhibitions is located above the vaulted room, the raised floor and flexibility of the electrical installation in the ceiling ensuring its optimal use. The museum's permanent heritage exhibitions occupy, in turn, the old exhibition rooms, which were stripped bare and renovated.
The circuit is also enriched with an experimental exhibition space, conceived as a standard museographic module. The building, built on the site of a derelict house, called on modern construction techniques and now employs a corrected use of natural daylight. At the end of this journey, the visitor reaches the garden via the old caretaker's house, transformed into an exhibition tower modulated by display corridors. The garden, which appears from the street to be sealed off, finally is open to the visitor: a green oasis, inhabited by sculptures that break loose from the architectural modelling of the facades.