José Alberto Pessoa
(Figueira da Foz, 1919-1985, Lisbon)
Alberto Pessoa was an architect with offices in Lisbon, active from 1945 to 1982. He graduated from the EBAL in 1943 and completed an internship under Keil do Amaral (1947-1950), collaborating in the design of equipment for Lisbon’s parks. In 1949 he designed the first high-rise residential block in Lisbon, following the International Style codes: a modern office building (later converted into the Hotel Infante Santo), with a shopping centre in the middle, thus adapting the pedestrian circulation to the Lisbon topography. This was followed by the Avenida Infante Santo residential complex (1952-1955), with its enormous hanging platform separated from the traffic route forming the basis for vigorous housing blocks. From 1950 to 1960 he was a professor at ESBAL and one of the directors of Arquitectura magazine. In 1961 he designed the Associação Académica de Coimbra building, including the Gil Vicente Theatre. Of his vast body of work, the most prominent projects are the High-rise Car Park in Porto (1961) and the Areeiro Swimming Pool in Lisbon, but the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Head Office and Museum complex (1959-1969, together with Pedro Cid and Ruy Athouguia) stands out as his referential work. He won the Valmor Prize for architecture on two occasions (1949, Cantante da Mota House; 1975, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation).
His body of works also includes: Study for Praça Pasteur and Av. de Paris (Lisbon, 1949, with Chorão Ramalho, J. Bastos and L. Crus); Central Library of the Faculty of Humanities (University of Coimbra, 1945).
Ana TOSTÕES, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation: The Buildings, F.C.G, Lisboa, 2012, p.257.