Origin of modern architecture

São Bento Railway SAtation
Photo:  Município do PortoCC BY-NC-SA - Some Rights Reserved

By the end of the nineteenth century there is a new revivalist tendency spread a bit all over and it creates a new kind of aesthetic taste, characterized by the inspiration by aesthetic and decorative vocabulary coming from artistic movements, namely gothic, renascence and baroque. These revivalist models are adopted by some European and Portuguese movements. Several small palaces and houses were built in Porto at the time, showing this style. They were located in the new areas of the city, like the Avenida da Boavista and the area located between Praça da Liberdade and Rua de Cedofeita. The most remarkable buildings of this style in Porto are the Warehouse of the Devesas Factory, on Rua José Falcão, and as the most emblematic project, the Arabian Room at the Stock Exchange Palace, built between 1862 and 1880, of Islamic inspiration, and the neo-gothic Chapel of Pestanas, on Rua do Almada, built between 1878 and 1888 by the architect J. Macedo Araújo.

There is one building where the influence of the French architecture of the Fontainebleau school, which goes form the Renaissance to the Belle Époque, is better displayed – it is the São Bento Railway Station, built in 1900 by the architect Marques da Silva. In 1909 Marques da Silva built the most Parisian building in Porto: the St. John’s Theatre, inspired by the Louvre and the Charles Garnier Opera Houses. Following the same influence but denoting already a certain technical and aesthetic modernity are the Nascimento Warehouses, dating from 1914. These undertakings of great mastery and quality place Porto in the limelight of the period’s architecture. With regard to the interior architecture, the Fashion Shop Vicent, in Rua 31 de Janeiro, is worthy of mention, since it clearly reflects the influence of the Paris and Monte Carlo Opera Houses. Let us not forget that the architect Marques da Silva (1869-1947), was born in Porto and studied in Paris, letting the influence of the French architectonic culture appear in all his artistic creations. He was also the planner of the headquarters of the Martins Sarmento Society, in Guimarães, built around 1900, of neo-Romantic influence.

A new eclectic and somehow exotic aesthetic trend arrives after the settlement of the Republic. The city had an impulse for renewal with special mention for the building of the Aliados avenue, a project started in 1915, by the English Barry Parker, continued under influence of the French School with the architect Marques da Silva. However, the most significant creation that denotes the second eclecticism of Art Nouveau tendency is the interior of the Lello Library, inaugurated in 1906. The building’s façade is neo-Gothic, with symbolist panels. The stairs are inspired by the ones of the Lafayette Galleries. The ensemble shows naturalist decorative elements, composed by the relief of writers, like Camilo Castelo Branco, Eça de Queirós and Guerra Junqueiro. The author of the library was Xavier Esteves, an Engineering teacher at Instituto Industrial e Comercial do Porto.

Published 10-09-2013
City of Porto City of Porto
​This is one of Europe's oldest tourist destinations. Its wealth of artistic heritage, Port Wine, open-air leisure spaces and cultural life are just s...
The French The French
The LegendPortugal did not exist as a free and independent country and Porto already kept close cultural, friendly and commercial relations with Fra...
The Spanish The Spanish
OriginsAccording to Pliny at 1st AD, the littoral area located north of the river Douro was the territory of a “tribe” generically known as the Cala...
The Dutch The Dutch
Former partnersIn the late Middle Ages there was a regular commercial contact between Porto and the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Towards these...
Geography and location Geography and location
PortoPorto, with an area of 45km2 and population of about 240 thousand, is the second biggest city in the country. It is known as the capital of the...
The Ways The Ways
​There is a vast network of pilgrimage roads and paths to the shrine of the apostle St. James which snake and consolidate themselves throughout almost...
Caminho Português Central ou Principal (Central or Main Portuguese Way) Caminho Português Central ou Principal (Central or Main Portuguese Way)
​242 kmFollows what was the Roman Via XIX connecting Braga to Lugo, passing through Ponte de Lima, Tui and Pontevedra, and along the old Porto-Barce...
Portugal Portugal
​Portugal covers an area of 92,094 km2 on the West Coast of Europe/Iberian Peninsula, bordering with Spain in the North and East, and with the Atlanti...
Tradition Tradition
The Porto inhabitants love to recreate traditions and customs, recovering old practices and ways of living. The popular festivals, food and wine are a...
Great Wine Capitals Network: A world of excellence! Great Wine Capitals Network: A world of excellence!
The  Great Wine Capitals Network (GWC) gathers nine cities with internationally renowned wine regions:Adelaide (Australia)Bilbao (Rioja - Spain)...
Porto Porto's São João
​The São João festivities in Porto already stand as a landmark for life in the city and are experienced by more and more tourists and visitors each ye...
Food Food
Porto’s gastronomy is a mirror of its cultural diversity. There are several stories about it, several legends told from generation to generation, whic...