10 things you did not know about Portugal
Come to the Gardens - Portugal's Greens

Art Deco architecture was a tool of the state in Portugal

Every Portuguese city has examples of the Art Deco era in its architecture--that period between the 1930s and the 1950s.  The Portuguese commonly referred to this time period as the "fascist" era, when the state had a program of erecting public buildings that were to be symbols and tools of propaganda. Consequently, many Portuguese people do not give much attention to these buildings. The most noteworthy include the Monument to the Discoveries in Lisbon, the new university at Coimbra, and the buildings along the marina at Ponta Delgada.


The period is characterized by blending the streamlined feel of Art Deco with more traditional Portuguese styles.  The buildings erected during 50 years of authoritarian rule had a neo-classic or a Pombaline theme, but with modern touches. Some seem out of scale with their surroundings.

One designer's work is considered the highlight of the period.  Duarte Pacheco began his career in 1928 by building a new campus for Lisbon's Superior Technical Institute. He then became Portugal's Minister of Public Works and Communication, which ultimately made him responsible for building much of 20th century Lisbon. His mark can be seen in the neighborhoods of Alvalade, Encarnação, Madredeus and Caselas.


Pacheco also oversaw the construction of the first major highway from Lisbon to Vila Franca de Xira, and he designed Lisbon’s Roma Avenue.  His designs include the National Stadium in Lisbon, the airport, the Fonte Luminosa Fountain and Monsanto Park.  He died in 1943 at just 44 years old.


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