From the Design to the Execution of the Works (1963-1969)

The Gulbenkian Park’s preliminary draft  project presented by landscape architects António Facco Viana Barreto and Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles in December 1961 was accepted by the Foundation’s board of directors and by the rest of the team involved in the process.

In January 1962, in the Project and Works Services Report, which defines the activities included in the first worksconsidered the following as integral parts of these set of actions, the Reconstruction of the Lake, the Park’s Surface Drainage of the Park and the Park’s Primary General Drainage [i].


From 1962 a set of activities began:


  • In January, 330 trees and 100 shrubs were acquired [ii]. This order was intended to be used in spring, to begin the plantation of areas unaffected by the construction of the Headquarters and the Museum, and for the peripheral border that would protect the Park from external sightlines and noise.
  • The area where the first excavations would occur was delimited.
  • The eucalyptus, which had been considered possibly classifiable, was protected and the best way to construct the support wall, which resulted from the excavations of the Auditorium, was studied so that the roots of the eucalyptus would not be affected.
  • Trees were transplanted to the nurseries that had been created by Azevedo Coutinho to be used in future plantations. Others were replanted at Quinta do Marquês, in Oeiras. Also sent there were the lawns that had been sown in 1958. 25 banana, 1 pine, 2 nettle and 1 Judas trees where cut down of which the firewood was sold or donated to charities.
  • The soil, the living land, which had been improved during Azevedo Coutinho’s management, covering the area of intervention was removed and deposited in an area that would only be subject to intervention later. This soil would be the basis for the preparation of the land that would be used in the future Park.
  • On 12 June, the first works for the Headquarters and Museum [iii] began.

Whilst these works were being carried out, the landscape architects developed the execution project. António Barreto and Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles submitted, in accordance with what was set out in clause nine of their contract, the Execution Project, on 31 March, 1963 [iv].

A first cycle of construction began which would be carried out between the 1963 and 1965. This phase was mainly focused on the Garden’s south. The land was modelled between the Museum building, the lake and the rose garden. The same was done in the space between the Temporary Exhibitions Gallery and the lake. The area corresponding to the open-air Amphitheatre’s stage was also levelled out. The lake was built. Therefore the former lake was dismantled. Finally, the banks of the lake began to be planted and the sowing of grass of the surrounding areas.

During this first period of construction, the works focused mainly on the lake and surrounding areas and was, in fact, a phase of great construction activity of the park, which is well-documentedMaterials needed to construct the lake and its banks were purchased, as were countless plant species (trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants and grass seeds). Some were intended for permanent plantings and seeding, others were installed in the nurseries for later use.



  • The first phase of the work on the Headquarters and Museum begins with the construction of the Car Park, support walls and the execution of the earthworks.
  • Infrastructure works for the future park (land modelling, drainage and sewage) and deposition of living soil south of the new buildings, were initiated [v].
  • Construction of the infrastructure for the future lake began.
  • Waterproofing of the car park cover.
  • Layers of gravel, peat and living soil were placed on the cover of  the underground car park.
  • Construction test for the rocky banks of the lake and definitive construction.
  • Construction of the non-rocky banks of the lake.
  • Construction of stone slab submerged walls.
  • Planting on the lake’s bank [vi].
  • Provisional sowing of lawns where the living soil had been incorporated in order to avoid dust and landslides.



  • Continued construction in the southern area of the park that was not affected by the works of the Headquarters and Museum buildings.
  • In the area where the outdoor amphitheatre was to be built, a land deposit was created for later use.
  • Waterproofing works continued on the cover of the underground car park [vii].
  • The construction of the lake was completed.
  • The planting and the sowing of the lawns were initiated in the areas considered finished.
  • The construction began of more appropriate facilities for the personnel assigned to the Garden.



  • Continued planting activities.
  • Old stone was acquired.
  • A pump was installed that fed the stream that develops from the source to the south and other works related to the channelling of the lake.
  • Implementation of the watering system for the car park cover [viii];
  • Budget proposals were submitted by the Empec company for the demolition of the old lake, designed by Jacob Weiss, including the removal of walls and foundations and transport of all the materials demolished, to the waste dump. Demolition of the lookout point by the lake.
  • Commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the death of Calouste Gulbenkian, on July 20, 1965. All efforts were made to ensure that, on this date, the entire project to the south of the Headquarters and Museum building had been executed in order to install the monument dedicated to this institution’s founder. It is from this date that the park, formerly known as Palhavã Park or Park of the Foundation, is named Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Park.
  • In October 1965, contacts began with Count Vill’Alva for the acquisition of a strip of land, in the Santa Gertrudes Park, which faces the southern edge of the Calouste Gulbenkian Park.


1966- 1967



  • Activities to repair damage caused by the floods of November 1967.
  • Construction of the outdoor auditorium begins.
  • In the autumn, car park’s infrastructure is completed.
  • Completion of the study for the design of areas adjacent to building as well as for the enclosing walls [ix].
  • A phase of construction of the garden is intensified and started. This phase is  more focused on areas directly related to the building, such as, the covers of the Temporary Exhibitions GalleryCongresses PatioMuseum Courtyards and the flowerbeds.



  • Completion of the construction of the walls and the accesses.
  • The outdoor auditorium infrastructures were completed, the waterproofing process was completed as well as the drainage. The proposed terrain modelling is carried out.
  • All temporary facilities were demolished where Foundations’ Services and activities had been installed since 1957.
  • On 10 September 1969 the construction of the route system was completed.
  • Completion, on 2 October 1969, of this phase which began on 12 June 1961,  but which is part of a longer process that began on 18 June  1953, when Calouste Gulbenkian signed his will whereby the Foundation is created. 


[i17 January, 1962 SPO document that defines the elements that constitute the first works contract
1 – Complete Car Park
2 – Support walls of Headquarters and Auditorium
3 – Support Walls of the Museum
4 – General Excavations at Headquarters and Auditorium
5 – General excavations at the Museum
6 – Excavations of the southern part of the Park
7 – Lake Reconstruction
8 – Surface drainage of the Park
9 – Primary general drainage of the Park
10 – Main sewage collectors
Folder 112, Proc. 95. vol. 1B.

[iiPopulus canescens (3m), 30 Populus nigra, var. italica (5m), 50 Betula celtiberica(2m), 20 Alnus glutinosa (1,5m), 50 Quercus pyrenaica (1,2m), 50 Quercus suber(1,2m), 50 Quercus faginea (1,2m), 100 Viburnum tinus (shrubs branched from below 1,2m) e 30 Salix viminalis.

[iiiSanta Gertrudes Park: Lake Construction

[ivhe Landscape Architects (…) fully complied with art. 9 of their contract, which established the date of 31 March, 1963 for the submission of the Definitive Design of the Park arrangement. Folder 137 Process 95, vol. 22 A1 

[vPrograma de Trabalhos no Parque de Sta. Gertrudes – Trimestre de Julho, Agosto e Setembro de 1963

[viLago: Arranjos exteriores concluídos – Aspectos das margens não rochosas e respectivas sementeiras herbáceas

[viiParque de estacionamento: Construção da cobertura – Trabalhos de enchimento com brita para a superfície vegetal e construção dos muretes delimitadores das vias internas

[viiiParque de estacionamento e corpo do Museu: Construção da cobertura – Trabalhos de enchimento com turfa para a superfície vegetal e instalação do sistema de distribuição de águas

[ixRising Side I
Rising Side II
West Side
West Side – Access


Documents of this phase


Updated on 09 september 2019

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