Lisbon Architecture School faces Closure

House In Leiria / Aires Mateus - © FG+SG (Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra)

Last May, Portugal became the third country within the 17-country eurozone in need of a financial rescue to avoid bankruptcy, following Greece and Ireland. Unemployment within the country has climbed up to 14.8 percent as the recession has brought harsh conditions to architects and architecture students alike. Now, the prestigious Faculty of Architecture at the Technical University of Lisbon (UTL), one that has fostered many great architects such as João Luis Carrilho da Graça and Manuel Aires Mateus, may be forced to close its doors.

Continue reading for more details.

At the brink of financial disruption, the College will have no money to pay salaries in June if they do not find a way to reduce costs and increase revenue. This is a hard task considering operating costs have already been drastically cut. António Cruz Serra, who took over as dean about two months ago, believes the College is already “at the threshold of survival.”

In recent months, nearly 60 students have sought the annulment of registration for failing to pay fees while 36 guest teachers have been notified that they will not be receiving a teaching assignment for the second semester. António Cruz Serra has requested for financial assistance from the Ministry of Education and Science to help resolve the schools financial crisis, but there have been no reports that this will take place.

In December, the rector of the Technical University of transferred 1.2 million to the School of Architecture for the construction of student residences. However, the funds were eventually used by the College to pay a debt to the General Pension Fund.

The president of the College, Pinto Duarte, is currently seeking new sources of revenue and will attempt to create more revenue “through the increased activity of projects with the outside world.”

A source from the Faculty of Architecture stated that “uncertainty is permanent” and teachers fear they will be laid off next.

In country known for its pristine architecture and Pritzker-winning architects, what are the long-term effects of closure, not only for the Portugal but also for the teachers and young aspiring Portuguese architects? How can reaching to the “outside world” help the College survive this crisis?

Reference: CRUP, Washington Post, Bloomberg, FAUTL

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Lisbon Architecture School faces Closure" 12 Mar 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • Mariana

    I am a student at this college and honestly this situation is getting overboard. The press keeps releasing information in a way that makes us look like some kind of institution that can’t do anything for its own sake. Releasing this in international websites as if we are in desperate need of attention or help really hurts my pride as a student since this is so farfetched I can’t believe people are buying all of these words.
    It is true our school has been dealing with some hard situations for a while but I believe people here are trying their best to make things work and coming forward saying stuff like “college faces closure” really doesn’t look seemingly to me. We might be going through a crisis, after all this college is just a small part of a system that has been affected deeply in the past years, but I don’t think anyone here will ever let the situation go so downhill the college actually has to close down for a year, or lose the quality of teaching that has been offering its students.
    People overall are mad at how anyone in charge could let things get so disporportionate and,most of all, how it was needed for the press to start sneeking in order to us seriously learn about it.
    But even so, teachers and students are fighting to keep this going regardless how this piece of news makes the ‘world’ look at us. I am simply a student, my voice isn’t everyone’s voice but I think someone should talk about how great the college is instead of only mentioning it when something terrible comes around. It’s not fair for people who work hard in it and are trying to solve the problem.
    That’s all.

  • Susana Saraiva

    Definitely! This kind of news are so dramatic! Of course if our country is in a deep economic crisis all institutions will be affected, but we all dealing with it the best way we can: working and finding solutions instead of complaining. The faculty will not close for sure.

  • Guilherme Oliveira

    At least, lets hope that this news a wares people outside the college, mainly architects and so on.
    Of course we are a great college, and it is stated above, in Mariana’s comment and in the news itself. How knows with this er can get exterior help, the one that sometimes is hard to reach.
    I’ve lost some teachers this past year, great one’s indeed, and I’m willing, as other student, to do as much as we can to save the ones that are still around.
    The fact that it is outside, and all the buzz, means that will still have a place in this world, and we are a college that as influence in our country, if not, this would pass by with no one watching.
    Let’s just do our best and bring back up the college that once it was, in all is glory.

  • Carlos Pedro Sant’Ana

    Also there is a parallel agenda in this situation. There are 2 Architectural Schools within this University, and for a long time there has been pressure to close this one… now they are forcing it using the Crisis as excuse.