From the Urban to Flats Interiors
Avenida da Liberdade is one of the most relevant axis of the city of Lisbon, it is a brand in the city.
Stage of the most important parades and parties in the city, a real estate reference, location of hotels and the most relevant brands in various sectors, Avenida da Liberdade is a reflection of its history and development today.
It is an avenue with a permanent life that dresses up for the most varied events and festivities. From the popular marches that in June fill the avenue with color and joy to the Christmas, where the main Christmas lights sparkle and give it a special glamour. The avenue has always lived with this cosmopolitan movement, where all of society lives and crosses itself, between the banker that goes up the avenue, the businessman that goes down, the politician that crosses it, the cab that stops at the hotel door, the artist that goes to the Parque Mayer or the Tivoli theater the people that search for the most remarkable stores of the city.
Avenida da Liberdade enjoys a unique centrality. Here it is possible to arrive on foot, by bicycle, by car, by bus, by subway or by train. The boats that connect Lisbon to the south bank of the Tejo River are a 15 minute walk away, but if you take the subway you can shorten this time.
What is the urban genesis of the Avenida?
Like other major roads in Lisbon, such as Almirante Reis and Infante Santo Avenues, the Avenida da Liberdade rose perpendicular to the River Tagus because it was built over a stream that flowed into the River from Parque Eduardo VII.
Lisbon is built on 7 hills and it was normal on the top of some of them to have springs that naturally flowed down the slopes towards the river. This explains its size and amplitude.
According to some authors, this river widened in the area of the restauradores and some call the Teatro D. Maria II the "Agrião" because it was built in an old flooded area.
The first idea to do something special in this space dates back to the end of the 18th century. The idea of making an avenue like the public promenade and the great avenues of Paris emerged.
This idea started to be born in the Restauradores Square and the idea was to go up to the place where later appeared the Edward VII Park, allowing the connection to the northern part of the city.
Already in the 2nd half of the 19th century, by the hands of Alfredo Freire de Andrade, the project for the expansion of the Avenue that corresponds to the section that linked the Restauradores Square to the Marquês de Pombal Square appears.
This is how a Romantic-style avenue emerges, wide, ample, with several circulation routes and generously dimensioned pavements with vegetation that encourage people to stroll and, at certain moments, to stay.
Regarding the built heritage we can still find many buildings that testify to what this avenue was, in its origin, designed from the beginning as a space for the elite of the city of Lisbon.
Today the Avenue lives in a mix of buildings, where we find 3 generations of constructions and interventions.
It is difficult to name all the buildings of architectural interest in this avenue, here cohabit several generations of buildings and are several examples of unique architecture that we find along this important axis of the city.
We find the original buildings of the avenue, which we can subdivide in the palaces that since its origin have stood in the middle of the avenue and I give as an example the palace of Fosforeira that stands out among others for their characteristics Mudejarand between these palaces arise apartment buildings, of mixed use, because the avenue was designed from the beginning to join the commercial and residential area.
Of the public buildings we find great examples, in the restauradores we still feel the presence of the D. Maria II National Theater or the train station, we have the Eden building, an example of the "Art Deco", the Tivoli Theater or the São Jorge Cinema and the imposing Mayer Park.
We have the constructions from the time of the Estado Novo, as we can verify with the Diário de Notícias building.
And within this 3rd Generation we find modern buildings and others rehabilitated and expanded.
At this moment MBM Company has developed an expertise in the rehabilitation of buildings and has had the privilege of working in this area, we have 3 ongoing projects in the area of Avenida da Liberdade, from these 3 projects I would like to bring two examples that show how special Avenida da Liberdade is.
For privacy reasons and to protect our clients I will not identify their precise location. From the examples I named I identify one of the cases right on Avenida da Liberdade and another one in a perpendicular street.
Both cases are from the same period of construction, and both were built with the "Pombalino" system.
I bring these two cases so that one can clearly understand how the avenue was designed from its origin and what consequences are felt inside the spaces.
The avenue was always designed for a special public, more affluent, and this is felt inside the buildings.
Without prejudice to the value of the adjacent streets, to live and be in the Avenue is to be in the Avenue.
Let us then look at the examples.
These two apartments we are dealing with are less than 100 meters apart and differ in several factors:
Ceiling height - The apartment on the avenue has a ceiling height of about 4.00 meters, while the apartment on the perpendicular street has a height of no more than 3 meters.
The interior spatial organization is identical, but the rooms in the avenue apartment are much larger than the rooms in the side street apartment. So we compare a 20m2 room with a 48m2 room.
In those days the size of the service areas and the existence of an independent service entrance were highly valued. A common issue in both cases.
Both apartments had a superior quality of construction for the time, however, in the Avenida apartment one feels more care in the ornamentation and detail. You can feel this difference in the stucco of the ceilings and walls, door and window frames, shutter solutions, baseboards, and hardware used.
The spaciousness of the avenue allows all the rooms to be flooded with light almost all day long. The same is not true of the other apartment, which despite having good light does not have the same impact.
The avenue apartment enjoys a privileged position, since it is at the level of the tree tops, which allows whoever is sitting in the living room to be surrounded by a green landscape, which is unique for an apartment in the center of one of the main avenues of the city.
The quality of construction in both cases is unmistakable and the great similarity of both is the common building system in this area of Lisbon.
Each apartment has its history and its circumstance and the Pombalino or Gaioleiro building system is a Portuguese system that articulates the strength of the outer walls in stone masonry with the flexibility of the wooden structures and had its origin after the earthquake of 1755 exactly to minimize the impact of this type of natural phenomena. It is therefore a type of seismic structure that requires special care and expertise in its intervention, because all the walls have their function.
These examples reflect the best of Lisbon's construction at the time of the construction of Avenida da Liberdade. However, the architecture in this area has undergone a great evolution over the last few years. The development of the city and the needs dictated that many buildings were replaced by other more modern ones that also mark this space in their own way.
The Avenue has evolved, but has maintained its essence. From the point of view of daily life it maintains its rhythm and movement. The construction quality is maintained and the new buildings do not compromise the overall effect of the avenue. The city's reference stores are still here and luxury brands seek it out for their premises.
Residential demand has been a constant and the avenue is an increasingly central space in terms of transportation.