Search
  • Afonso Almeida Fernandes

Architecture and respect for historical heritage

Architecture must always be based on respect for historical heritage, not allowing itself to be completely conditioned by the context, so that there is evolution and development, but so that this evolution can be observed in a historical, cultural, sociological and patrimonial way.




Some point the beginning of architecture to 10,000 years before Christ, in the Stone Age, where, for the first time, rudimentary materials were used for shelter constructions. Travelling back to the present, going through different phases of history and different artistic movements, a lot has changed. What was built in 14th century as something modern, today is part of our history and is appreciated with interest and enthusiasm as an ancient construction, that represents the views of its time. Today, when building or rebuilding, architecture plays an increasingly important role in respecting historical heritage.


In Almeida Fernandes Arquitetura & Design, our projects are inspired by their surroundings, whether they are sociological, material or historical, and have the ambition to mirror and innovate through their cultural environment. This is the richness of architecture that, well framed in its environment, gains value.


But it is very different to create a new project that fits into the surroundings, than to let it be conditioned by the existing constructions. We are not going to create a whole new building according to the architecture of the 18th century, just because there are buildings like this on the site.

This is an indispensable first step when starting a new project. A real time in loco visit to absorb what exists and what is around you. This visit serves not only as inspiration, but also and essentially out of respect for the ambience. In the same way that different generations live in the same family, in a specific space where we live, we unite the old and the new, the ancient and the recent. It is from this respect and coexistence that the artistic richness of architecture is born.


This initial phase inspires and guides the following ones: design and project. Once again, it is important to mention that historical heritage inspires but doesn't overcome. There is architectural evolution, evolution in construction and design. Otherwise we would have stoped in the Stone Age. But it is very different to create a new project that fits into the surroundings, than to let it be conditioned by the existing constructions. We are not going to create a whole new building according to the architecture of the 18th century, just because there are buildings like this on the site.


A good example of what I mean can be found in downtown Lisbon, where 19th century construction predominates, built after the earthquake of 1755. And with these buildings we also see others from the 50s of the 19th century, with their own characteristics, but where new construction can also be seen, from the first decades of the 20th century, perfectly framed, with their own artistic current and with the architect's own vision, but peacefully coexisting with the entire history of the city area.


Architecture must always be based on respect for historical heritage, not allowing itself to be completely conditioned by the context, so that there is evolution and development, but so that this evolution can be observed in a historical, cultural, sociological and patrimonial way. Architecture lives off the historical heritage we have inherited, so not using it to our advantage would be a huge waste.