Restoration of the Church of Santa Isabel in Lisbon wins the Vilalva Prize

The functional and constructive rehabilitation project, redesign of the furniture and painting restoration of the Church of Santa Isabel in Lisbon was the winner, out of the 26 candidates submitted, of the Maria Tereza and Vasco Vilalva Prize.
21 sep 2020

The jury – made up of António Lamas (Chair), Raquel Henriques da Silva, Santiago Macias, Gonçalo Byrne, Luís Paulo Ribeiro and Rui Vieira Nery (director of the Gulbenkian Culture Program) – highlighted the excellence of the conservation and restoration work and the enriching of this Church built in 1742 on the initiative of Patriarch Tomás de Almeida. The jury furthermore highlighted: 

  • The spectacular and refined aesthetic of the painting project by Michael Biberstein (in the photo), which covers the totality of the vault. This is one of the leading contemporary art interventions within the scope of classical architecture, completed following the death of the artist with accompanying supervision by the artist Julião Sarmento and the curator Delfim Sardo;
  • The multi-disciplinary and extremely highly qualified team (coordinated by Father J.M. Pereira de Almeida and the Architect João Appleton) that undertook all of the work through deploying the learnings and knowledge of engineering, conservation and restoration, the history of art, of equipment design and contemporary art;
  • The intervention methodology through successive phases that, in 2020, has concentrated on the valuation of the initial Church altar and the installation of new liturgical furniture. 



The jury also decided to attribute an honourable mention to the reconversion and rehabilitation project for the Building on Rua da Boavista, 69, also in Lisbon. According to the jury, this decision stems from the quality of the reconversion and rehabilitation project for this late 18th century building  and the dedication of the architects Filipa Pedro and Paulo Pedro to the restoring and recreation of various built and decorative features of the original building or its successive phases throughout its history. 

© DR
09_Mencao-Honrosa-Premio-Vilalva---Rua-Boavista-©--Mariana-Teixeira R. Boavista © DR
10_Mencao-Honrosa-Premio-Vilalva---Rua-Boavista-©--Mariana-Teixeira R. Boavista © Mariana Teixeira
04_Mencao-Honrosa-Premio-Vilalva---Rua-Boavista-©--Mariana-Teixeira R. Boavista © Mariana Teixeira
03_Mencao-Honrosa-Premio-Vilalva---Rua-Boavista-©--Mariana-Teixeira R. Boavista © Mariana Teixeira

Maria Tereza and Vasco Vilalva Prize

The Vilalva Prize was launched in 2007, on the occasion of the acquisition of the remainder of the Santa Gertrudes Park from Maria Tereza Belo Eugénio de Almeida, widow of Vasco Eugénio de Almeida, Count of Vilalva.

Founded in honour of Vasco Vilalva, the Prize’s objective is to distinguish the very best culture heritage restoration projects undertaken by private entities within Portugal. Coming with a cheque for 50,000 euros, this is the leading Portuguese prize in this field.

The acquisition of the remainder of the Santa Gertrudes Park enabled, in its turn, the reunification of the Park. Work on this reunification remains ongoing, with the Park’s reopening (as a complete unit) planned for the first quarter of 2022. At that time, the Park will be able to provide the city with renovated external spaces, new points of access and a new visitor route crossing the former Modern Collection building. This intervention, which makes up part of the project that won the ideas tender launched in 2019, is the work of the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma in association with the landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic.

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