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Shadows of the Empire  Belém, Projects, Hesitations and Inertia 1941-1972

02 May 2022 - 30 January 2023



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About this event

Temporary Exhibition

2 May, 2022 – 30 January, 2023


Shadows of the Empire – Belém, Projects, Hesitations and Inertia 1941-1972

strives to show a succession of urban plans and architectural projects centred around Praça do Império / Empire Square.

Devalued or even forgotten by historiography, these projects are particularly significant today, due to the scale and nature of the transformation that they announced, the programmatic orientation that they defended, the investment of means that they implied, the extension of its conception period, compared to how little was completed.

Based on documentation from different sources – drawings and descriptive memories, reports, official letters, legislation, photographs, bibliography from that time – and recent academic research, the exhibition draws a chronological path centred around projects for Empire Square and surrounding area, as well as the “Overseas Palace” and the “Overseas Museum”. It also showcases other proposals for large public buildings that were to be located in Lisbon’s waterfront.

These projects receive diverse and complementary approaches, presented by researchers from different disciplines, who will offer context and suggest proposals for critical reading: Urbanism, Architecture, Landscaping, Public Art, Heritage, Colonial Propaganda and Ideology.

Scientific coordination – João Paulo Martins – Architect, Lisbon School of Architecture – Lisbon University, CIAUD

Researchers – Joana Brites Art Historian, Faculty of Arts and Humanities – Coimbra University, CEIS20; Natasha Revez Art Historian; Pedro Rito Nobre Architect; Sofia Diniz Art Historian; Sebastião Carmo-Pereira Landscape Architect; Sofia Diniz Art Historian

Part ONE is organised into six sections:

1. From Restelo Beach to Empire Square

2. The Portuguese World Exhibition and Beyond

3. A Square for the Entire Empire

4. The Overseas Palace

5. The Overseas Museum and the Higher Institute of Overseas Studies

6. The Overseas Ethnology Museum


The exhibition will be presented at two different times

02.05.2022 – 16.10.2022

and 29.10.2022 – 30.01.2023

image: Urbanisation of Belém’s waterfront. Sketches for the organisation of the pre-plan. Perspective of the main façade of the Overseas Palace. Solution D. November 1955 Jacques Carlu and Luís Cristino da Silva. A.175 (469) CAR*urb res (desenho 7) Museu Nacional de Etnologia