Home » City Council » City Hall

City Hall

The City Hall building, aside from its architectural and artistic value, reflects the image of Lisboa and of Liberal, Regenerating and Republican Portugal. Several important events in our history, such as the Proclamation of the Republic in October 5th 1910, were deeply associated to this building.

 

After the 1755 earthquake, during the Pombal reconstruction, the City Hall building was built in its present location, according to an architectural project signed by architect Eugénio dos Santos Carvalho, which was completely destroyed by a fire in November 19th 1863.

A new building was then built in the same place, between 1865 and 1880, based on an architectural project by the city architect of the time Domingues Parente da Silva, while the plan for the finishing of the façade was modified by a decision of Engineer Ressano Garcia, responsible for the Technical Services of the City, thus creating the large classical fronton with sculptor decorations by French sculptor Anatole Calmels. In the interior the intervention of architect José Luís Monteiro stands out, mainly in the central staircase, as well as in the rich painting decoration made by several artists, among whom it is worth highlighting José Pereira Júnior (Pereira Cão), Columbano and Malhoa. The building as a whole reveals the intervention of quite a wide number of personalities, both at architectural and constructive level, as well as at decorative level, showing quite high quality aesthetics and innovation.

.

On November 7th 1996 a new fire destroyed the upper floors, damaging the ceilings and paintings on the first floor.

After the impact of the fire was assessed, the options were made regarding the General Plan of Intervention for the Recovery of the City Hall Building, conducted by architect Silva Dias. Based on a principle of loyalty to the Historic and Architectonic tradition, the option was to come close to the initial project of Architect Domingos Parente – thus taking up the essential roots of the original architectural project from the end of the former century, and that was being adulterated by later constructions from the decades of the 1930s and 1940s. Two main goals guided that plan, on the one hand, to restore the noble areas with recognised Historic and Artistic value; and on the other hand, to endow the floors formerly prepared for an institutional performance with a more functional and personalized profile, reconciling the access and use of part of these spaces by citizens, in a relationship de approximation between the City and its Citizen, through this emblematic building.

Challenging the creativity of some of the most remarkable architects and artists of Lisboa, wanting to make of the City Hall building an example of dialogue between Historic and Architectonic Heritage and contemporary architectonic artistic creation, architects João de Almeida, Manuel Tainha, Nuno Teotónio Pereira, professor Daciano Costa and artists Sá Nogueira, Fernando Conduto, Maria Velez, Helena Almeida, Pedro Calapez, Jorge Martins were invited. While some plastic artists were also invited to intervene in the exterior, Eduardo Nery was put in charge of the superficial area of the square and Jorge Vieira was made responsible for the sculptures.

The City Hall is thus a work of architect Domingos Parente da Silva, of sculptor Calmels, of architect José Luís Monteiro, Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro, Pereira Cão, Malhoa, among others, to which are added the names of those whom, with respect for the work of their predecessors and with the same sensitivity and culture, made possible not just the restoration of the damaged art works, paintings, stucco works, stone works and statues, but also the development of a new architecture that now incorporates and enhances the value of the building.

Interior

Interior

The author of the project of the City Hall building is architect Domingos Parente with the collaboration of Eng. Ressano Garcia (whom was responsible for the façade, the layout of the floors), of City Councillor Anselmo Ferreira Pinto (staircase) and of architect José Luís Monteiro (author of the wrought-iron gates of the façade).

 

City Hall - Interiors from the 19th Century. The façade is topped by a triumphal fronton designed by French sculptor Anatole Camels, in which the sculptural set is comprised by the coat of arms of the city of Lisboa, with a male figure to the right representing "Love and Liberty", which has on its background the representation of "Science" and "Navigation", and to the left has a female figure symbolizing "Liberty", with a representation of the "Industry" and "Trade" on the background.

The Archive Room

The Archive Room

Project by Domingos Parente.

The shelves are distributed along two galleries, taking advantage of the total height of the room; wrought-iron railings and furniture – this whole set was designed by architect José Luís Monteiro.

Staircase and Dome

Staircase and Dome

Staircase and Dome

Project by City Councillor Anselmo Ferreira Pinto

 

Painting:

Coordination: Pierre Bordes

Execution: Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro and Pereira Cão (José Pereira Júnior)

 

The whole set is illuminated by an iron and glass skylight by António João Burnay, which was attached to the dome decorated in the interior with Renaissance motifs, in a light-dark painting, in Trompe-l'oeil, resulting in a perfect illusion of shades and reliefs.

On the first landing was placed a commemorative slab by Simões de Almeida (nephew), at the time of the first anniversary of the Foundation of the Republic.

The Republic Hall or Golden Hall

The Republic Hall or Golden Hall

Thus designated because of including pictures of relevant personalities of the Republican movement, and/or for counting among its pieces of furniture, on several juxtaposed semi-circular golden consoles.

 

The ceiling presents a multicoloured group of flowers, fruits and garlands of the responsibility of Pereira Júnior and Procópio Ribeiro. The oval medallions were designed by José Malhoa and represent Music, Singing, Arts and Humanities. The large round medallions on the corner are by Columbano (1889) and represent allegories of Camões expressed in the legends with verses from the Lusíadas.

 

Pierre Bordes is responsible for the surrounding mat integrating vegetable elements which frame 12 cameos, representing mythological figures. Two oil paintings integrate the parietal decoration, painted at a later stage, pictures of: Dr. Miguel Bombarda (Columbano 1911), Dr. Manuel de Arriaga (Abel Manta 1936 - our 1st President, thus justifying the name of Republic Hall), Almirante Cândido dos Reis (Veloso Salgado).

The Noble Hall

The Noble Hall

The Noble Hall

As if announcing the decorative richness of this hall where decorative elements are the result of a neoclassical composition with others of a more modern taste, its access door stands out, engraved by nineteenth century master Leandro Braga, where, along the remaining ornaments stands out the representation of the Coat of Arms of City of Lisboa.

 

The ceiling of the Noble Hall displays a large allegoric painting of the city by painter José Rodrigues, named "Exaltation of Lisboa" with the figure of a woman who takes up the central plane of the composition representing Lisboa, holding the City and depicting the most significant activities of this city, namely Navigation, Trade and the Industry, in a close relationship with the Tagus, with Fame and with Genius, also including references to literary inspiration, poetry, painting and sculpture.

 

In the overall pictorial decoration, the elements that repeat themselves rhythmically also stand out, integrating the coats of arms of the Portuguese cities interconnected by decorated sirens with side medallions invoking historical personalities such as Gil Vicente (goldsmith, the "father" of Portuguese Drama), Pedro Nunes (illustrious mathematician – 16th Century), Damião de Gois (humanist and diplomat, choronist of King D.Manuel - 16th Century), Francisco d'Holanda (scholar of Classical Aesthetics and of Ancient Painting - 16th Century), Father António Vieira (diplomat and prominent personality of sacred speech - 16th Century), Viscount de Almeida Garrett (romantic writer and founder of the building of the National Theatre - 19th Century), among others, by Malhoa de António Nunes Júnior.

  

The elements that decorate the space of the Carrara marble fireplaces designed by architect José Luis Monteiro are also of Renaissance inspiration.

The Private Sessions Hall

The Private Sessions Hall

The dark/light ceiling was conceived and executed by Pierre Bordes and Eugénio Cotrim. The corners have ornamental compositions integrating profiles of former Kings connected to Portugal from four different countries (D.Luís - badge of the Order of Christ; Napoleon - badge of the Legion of Honour; D. Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil - badge of the Calvary of the South; Queen Victoria of England - badge of the Order of the Garter). The central painting was made by José Rodrigues and integrates an allegory of Lisboa, including a female figure dressed as a Roman officer representing Lisboa and crowning to its right, the Industry and to its right is also represented Trade, having Navigation also depicted.

This hall also includes two pictures by Domingos Sequeira: "The City of Lisboa protects the victims of the French Invasions" and "The Genius of the Portuguese Nation."

 

The furniture is made by juxtaposable double and simple pieces in oak wood, which main decorative motif is the coat of arms of the city, designed by José Luís Monteiro and having been executed by Victor Knotz.