Lisbon – the Arte Nova architecture of Norte Júnior

Manuel Joaquim Norte Júnior was a prolific Lisboan architect who won the Prémio Valmor (the annual award for municipal architecture in Lisbon), five times, in addition to two honourable mentions. His career spanned a number of styles over several decades but this post focuses on his flamboyant Arte Nova (Portuguese Art Nouveau) period, which is my favourite.

All these buildings are marked on my Google map.

Norte Júnior launched his career in 1904 by winning the Prémio Valmor that year for Casa da Malhoa.

The building is now called Casa-Museu Dr. Anastácio Gonçalves, named after a later owner whose Art Nouveau art collection it houses, but at the time of writing (2022) it was closed for renovation.

The most famous example of Júnior’s work is just down the road at 28 Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo. Originally built as a private home in 1912, it won the Prémio Valmor in 1914. Also known as ‘the wedding cake’ it is now the Headquarters of Metropolitano de Lisboa.

On the pavement right next door, on Rua Andrade Corvo, is the entrance to Picoas subway station, which looks like it got lost on its way to Paris.

Although it looks contemporaneous, it’s actually a relatively recent (1995) gift from the Paris Metro (RATP), a direct copy of the original design by Hector Guimard. Where better to put it than next to a building so heavily influenced by Parisian Art Nouveau?

An example of his later Arte Nova work is Edifício Heron Castilho at 40 Rua Braamcamp. Built in 1921, the design is more eclectic, combining late Art Nouveau decorative features (such as the carved corbels featuring feminine heads that support the balconies on the main façade) with more classical elements, such as the pilasters, balustrades and the monumental round arch.

Click on the photos to get the best view.

Norte Júnior was also responsible for some of Lisbon’s most iconic cafes. The most famous is A Brasileira do Chiado at 122 Rua Garrett, which was one of the first coffee shops in Portugal when it opened in 1905. Norte Júnior designed the Parisian-style façade which became the image of the brand.

He also designed the facade of Pastelaria Versailles at 15 Avenida da República which opened in 1922.

On a trip to Estoril (a resort town to the west of Lisbon) I accidentally stumbled across the Cocheiras de Santos Jorge (St. George’s Stables). Located in Rua de Olivença with a terrace overlooking the platforms of Estoril train station, the building was intended as a garage and stables but is in sad disrepair now.

There are many more Norte Júnior buildings that I’m hoping to add to this post in the future.

More Arte Nova architecture next!

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