Modern Art Centre – Study of Visual Relations to be Preserved
In 1980, the Administration of the Foundation decided to build the Modern Art Centre (Centro de Arte Moderna – CAM) on the southern border, where the ballet centre had been planned in 1965.
This decision was strongly contested by the landscape architects. Recognizing the importance of a structure of this nature, they considered that it should be located, not at the southern, but at the western edge of the land, on Rua Nicolau Bettencourt, where a few elm trees stood which were likely to die off, given they showed symptoms of Graphium ulmi (Dutch elm disease).
António Facco Viana Barreto and Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles argued that this location:
– Would not jeopardize the areas of greater use in the park;
– Would not interfere with the panoramic views of the lake, the framing of the building and the sightlines to the vanishing points that were lost in the depths of the planting;
– Would not destroy the unit composition of the buildings and park, as was the case in the proposal presented by the Administration;
– Would maintain the integrity of the landscape unit: the slope that descends from São Sebastião;
– Would guarantee the future expansion of the park to the garden of the Santa Gertrudes House.
All these arguments were based on the principles of the proposal presented by these landscape architects in December 1961. The designers’ coherent proposal was not accepted. António Barreto retired from his position as consultant to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in May 27, 1976. Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles, then a member of Parliament, led an opinion group that opposed the decision. The subject was discussed in the media. One group of citizens even proposed that the garden be classified as a national monument, which didn’t happen until 2006.