by Vanna Villa

Originally located in the outskirts of Lisbon, Thalia Theatre opened in the 1840s. A venue of leisure for a local aristocrat, it burned down shortly after and remained derelict since then. Gonçalo Byrne Architects & Barbas Lopes Architects reconverted its ruins into a multipurpose arena for conferences, exhibitions or concerts. 

To retain the old walls, the exterior was encased with terracotta concrete. The interior remained as it was, like a fossil. An adjacent single-story pavilion, entirely glazed with gilded glass, faces the street nearby. This serpentine houses additional program and mirrors the context around. Described as “a mash-up of the Neues Museum, a Peter Brook performance, and a Rachel Whiteread sculpture,” the project combines the old and new parts of the building into an urban ensemble with views to the nearby Zoo.

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