FRAGMENTS_ brutalism in Lisbon

FRAGMENTS_ brutalism in Lisbon - Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles

The city of Lisbon might be known for its colorful facades and picturesque street views, that’s not all it has to offer when it comes to architecture.  Because I can never resist brutalist architecture with its geometric shapes and intriguing use of materials, I did a little research on brutalism in Lisbon before my last trip to my favorite city.  A google search led me to the Palácio da Justiça, the courthouse of Lisbon which was designed by Januário Godinho & João Andresen in the sixties.  This mastodont of a building ticks all the brutalist boxes, so if you’re a lover of all things architectural, it is definitely worth a detour from your average tour of the Portugese capital. In that case, don’t forget to checkout my Lisbon city guide for more must visits!

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FRAGMENTS_ Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

Fragments_ Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon - Hannelore Veelaert for au pays des merveilles

The combination of plants and rough concrete is one that is always a win in my book and Lisbon‘s Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian proves my point with conviction.  This brutalist museum houses the art collection of the foundation named after businessman and philanthropist Calouste Gulbenkian.  While the ancient and modern art collection is supposed to be impressive (I have to admit I only ever visited the library), it’s the surrounding gardens that truly make my heart beat faster.  The fragments I’m sharing in this blogpost should give you an impression, but why not plan a trip to Lisbon and visit the Gulbenkian yourself?  In case you do: boredom won’t be an option because I’ve updated my Lisbon city guide

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FRAGMENTS_ MAAT

FRAGMENTS_ MAAT museum in Lisbon

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you have without a doubt noticed I spent the end of the year in my beloved Portugal.  Before meeting up with my family for the holidays, I spent 5 days on my own in Lisbon, doing what I love to do most.  I revisited my favorite places from when I used to live here, discovered new places and wandered the streets of my favorite city with my camera in hand.  I’ll soon blog about my favorite discoveries, but first I wanted to share a few images of the MAAT, Lisbon’s museum for Architecture, Art and Technology.  Last year, the majority of the museum was closed to the public, but this year I had better luck.  While the expositions I visited were interesting, the museum building itself that was the true highlight of my visit.  I couldn’t resist snapping a few new pictures of all the different textures on the billowing facade and the extraordinary view over the Tejo.

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FRAGMENTS_ CCB in Lisbon

During my last visit to Lisbon, I made a quick stop at the CCB in Lisbon’s parish Belém.  I visited this cultural center once before, during my Erasmus in 2012, and absolutely loved it, so I couldn’t resist paying it a second visit after I discovered the MAAT.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to go inside and check out the current exhibition (I had a plain to catch), but I did take a closer look at the architecture and was pleasantly surprised.  Due to the winter light, the building seemed to be dressed in soft pink tones, which worked beautifully with the CCB’s surrounding greenery and the building’s composition.  Just in case you have plans to visit Portugal’s capital, don’t forget to check out my city guide for more tips on what to do in (and around) Lisbon.

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FRAGMENTS_ MAAT

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Ever since I read about the new museum for architecture, art and technology in Lisbon, or the MAAT, I couldn’t wait to visit this impressive piece of architecture on the bank of the river Tagus in Lisbon’s district of Belém.  Unfortunately, I was only able to visit the foyer of the museum, as the new exhibitions were still a work in progress.  However, the architecture itself did not disappoint.  The tiled facade, curving towards the river, beautifully reflected both the sound of the waves and the play of light on the water surface.  On the undulating rooftop, the balustrades and stairs collided into a playful composition of lines.  I hope these images give you an impression of Amanda Levete’s design and encourage you to leave Lisbon’s city center for its Belém district.  For more must-visits in the wonderful city of Lisbon, have a look at my city guide here.

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FRAGMENTS_ Le Point du Jour

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During our road trip through France, Lies and I indulged both in breathtaking nature and stunning architecture, and today I’m concluding my report of our trip with the latter.  Le Point du Jour is a housing project designed by Fernand Pouillon between 1957 and 1963 in Boulogne-Billancourt, a Parisian suburb.  The twenty five buildings house no less than 260 apartments, facilities and shops and yet the site never feels dense, on the contrary!  The materials, the lines of the buildings, the greenery and the colors form a perfect composition that never bores the eye.  A must-see if you’re visiting Paris and prefer magnificent architecture over tourist traps, but then again, who doesn’t?

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FRAGMENTS_ Les grands ensembles de paris

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Inspired by Laurent Kronental’s photo series Souvenir d’un Futur, Lies and I decided to see those Grands Ensembles in Paris for ourselves during last summer’s road trip through France.  These enormous housing projects were built between the 1970s and 1980s and were meant to be a solution to the housing crisis, urban migration and the inflow of foreign immigrants, while also meet modern needs.  The resulting buildings must have looked pretty futuristic back then, but nowadays they feel rather like the captivating movie decor of a Modernist utopian city.   We visited three of these Grands Ensembles in the outskirts of Paris during our trip (one of which I didn’t photograph because it felt inappropriate, but you might have already seen Bofill’s Les espaces d’Abraxas in the hunger games movies anyway) and today I’m sharing two, the circular Les Arénes de Picasso in Noisy-Le Grand, designed by Manuel Núñez Yanowsky and the Le Viaduc (1980) and Les Arcades du Lac (1975) in Montigny-le-Bretonneux, designed by Ricardo Bofill and dressed in rosy hues.  If you want to see more of our roadtrip, have a look here on the blog or here on instagram, and keep an eye out for my last post about our vacation if you’re enjoying these posts filled with stunning architecture!

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WORK_ Terra

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“Terra” was one of the winning entries of the SPACES competition for the Interior Biennale of Kortrijk 2016.  TRANS aimed to gather people around food and thus designed a simple rectangular bar made out of concrete and wood, where mushrooms take the center stage.  I was asked by TRANS to photograph their bar and was quite impressed with their work and they way the public interacted with it.  Passersby seemed to be drawn to the field of mushrooms and stopping to smell them was no exceptional behavior.

Speaking of work, I’ve recently decided to take a little break from working in architecture and focus on my photography, interior projects and the blog instead.  I’m really excited about this new turn (and a little nervous I’ll admit) and I can’t wait to see how this evolves… Stay tuned!

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FRAGMENTS_ villa cavrois

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This summer, my friend Lies and I opted for a budget holiday, driving with our tent through the North of France, exploring both architecture and nature, while ending with a bit more luxury in Paris (hello hotel panache!), where we would meet up with our friend Eline.  The first stop on this roadtrip was Villa Cavrois, an impressive modernist mansion  located in Croix, just over the Belgian border.  This “modern château” was designed in 1929 by Robert Mallet-Stevens for the wealthy Paul Cavrois (a textile industrial), his wife Lucie and their seven children.  The architect also designed the entire interior of this 2800 m² mansion, and opted for luxurious materials such as marble and precious wood, while never losing sight of functionality.  However, after being occupied by the German army during world war II and an unsuccesful architectural intervention, Villa Cavrois was abandonned and vandalized.  Luckily the French state realized the value of this building and bought the property in 2001, with the goal of restoring it to its former glory.  13 years (!) of research and 23 million euro (!) later, Villa Cavrois is restored back into its original state of 1932 and open to the public. 

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FRAGMENTS_ Kolumba

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Ever since I set foot in Cologne’s Kolumba museum five years ago, I’ve been in awe with this architectural masterpiece by Peter Zumthor.  When I planned to spend a couple of days in Cologne this summer, the first thing that popped into my mind was that I’d be able to revisit the Kolumba, which I still remembered as one of the most impressive buildings I’ve visited.  Curious whether or not it’d live up to my memories, I couldn’t wait to pay this museum for religious art a second visit.  Built on the ruins of a gothic church, the building forms a stunning play on the contrast between old and new, light and dark, matte and reflective surfaces.  Needless to say,  I was not disappointed by my second visit at all. 

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