02 August 2023

A competition entry for the Lisbon Academy of Sciences

Positioned within the heart of the bohemian Bairro Alto neighbourhood is the Lisbon Academy of Sciences. Jonathan Tuckey Design have completed a proposal that outlines a new sequence of public spaces to be housed within the ground floor of this linear edifice, reinforcing the Academies newfound guise as a museum. Once resistant to public access, the scheme looks to shift the institutions stayed image, defining a more inclusive and approachable character that can be enjoyed by all.

The original building dates back to 1796 and has undergone little to no change throughout its lifetime. Currently the homogenous façade is uninviting, with one modest entry gate along the main thoroughfare. It is intended for a new reception threshold to be prominent from street level, anchoring the buildings symmetry and improving access. A sensitive approach was required to enhance vaulted ceilings through the use of elegant joinery and shelving units that reuse existing fabric found within the cavernous rooms. These insertions would be demountable and modular, devised to alter the interiors if required for future development, leaving a legacy that has the original buildings spirit at the forefront of design.

The entire ground floor will be compartmentalised into varied uses, with reception, café, bookshop, exhibition corridor and multipurpose room proposed. Maximising existing materials is imperative, with restored timber flooring and plastering intended to frame original masonry. Sustainable acoustic panels composed from compressed paper will wrap the event spaces; equipping them for conferences, recitals and lectures. In the cafeteria, a screed aggregate flooring will offer visual contrast and brighten the space, reflecting day light from its polished surface. The design teams strategy of reducing, reusing and restoring aligns with that of the Academy and the significance of their landmark.

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