Open public design competition for future Chiado Museum extension project

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The public design competition for the remodeling and expansion project of the National Museum of Contemporary Art – Museu do Chiado, in Lisbon, is open until March, according to a notice published in Diário da República.

On the 13th of this month, the director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art – Museu do Chiado (MNAC-MC), Emília Ferreira, had told the Lusa news agency that the competition would open by the end of the year.

The deadline for submitting tenders is “until 17:00 on the 90th day after the date of dispatch of this notice” for publication in the Diário da República (DR), which corresponds to December 22, 2023, reads the document published on December 26.

For this design contest, the “base price” is 750,000 euros, according to the decree.

The distribution of costs under this tender was authorized on the 11th, by a joint decree of the Secretariats of State for Budget and Culture, corresponding to 750,000 euros for 2024, for a total value of 900,000 euros, distributed over the period 2023 (50,000 euros) to 2025 (109,349,000 euros), plus VAT.

The refurbishment and expansion of MNAC were announced in January by the Ministry of Culture, and are part of the works included in the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR).

According to the museum’s director, “the work [an estimated investment of eight million euros] is expected to begin at the end of 2024, beginning of 2025”.

Emília Ferreira believes that the project will “benefit the conditions of the collection and exhibitions”, as well as the work of the staff and the access and reception of visitors.

The project to extend the MNAC-MC covers part of the building where the PSP was previously housed, part of the building of the former Civil Government of Lisbon, and envisages a refurbishment that creates a link with the three buildings, including the oldest one where the museum is housed, “so that there is a logic of route and use”.

Emília Ferreira stressed the importance of this project for the museum, “which has not been able, due to lack of space, to present a long-term exhibition, with a significant number of pieces, with a more comprehensive tour of the collection”.

“What we’ve managed to do is present various different nuclei based on the collection,” said Emília Ferreira, adding that “technical spaces, an auditorium, educational services and reserves” will also be very welcome.

As for the progress of the PRR works, which began this month and for which the MNAC-MC received 1.8 million euros, the director said that they should take six months and are being focused on repairing “old and urgent problems”, namely the recovery and installation of air conditioning, roofing, repairs to leaks and replacement windows.

In February 2014, the then Secretary of State for Culture, Jorge Barreto Xavier, signed a protocol with the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MAI) and the Ministry of Finance to transfer part of the S. Francisco convent, which had also housed a PSP police station and the former Civil Government, with the aim of doubling the space available for the Chiado Museum.

The extension work was first extended to the Civil Government building on Rua Capelo, which opened in 2015, and was later connected to the museum’s original building on Rua Serpa Pinto.

The transfer of the space then under the MAI’s tutelage in the Convento de São Francisco was an old project that had passed through several governments, but never came to fruition.

One of the museum’s main problems, pointed out by all the directors over the last 30 years, was the limited space to display one of the most important public art collections in the country.

The MNAC-MC, which today has a collection of almost 5,000 pieces of art, from 1850 to the present day – a collection that also includes pieces from entities such as embassies and ministries – celebrated its 100th anniversary in May 2011.

Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi
Moti Shabi

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