Lisbon Architecture School faces Closure

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

Last May, 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 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 20 Sep 2014. <>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down +21

    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.

  2. Thumb up Thumb down +8

    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.

  3. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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.

  4. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    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.

  5. Thumb up Thumb down +1

    I must confess that reading such news at a International ebsite is a bit shocking to me, as I see for everyone.

    FAUTL its a good School of Architecture and has been the home for architects like Carrilho da Graca and Aires Mateus.

    I worked at FAUTL in 2010 and could see how hard students work and how talented they are, the country situation its not good but like Martin Luther King “I still Believe” in the power of Portuguese people! We did amazing things in our history and we will turn around our economy, only if we do not wish to change its the only reason I see why would not improve.

    We are a country that has enourmous talented people and very inventive, Architecture its one of the best in the World.

    It does hurt my pride as portuguese to see that for years no one would speak about Portugal but now everyone talks but not for the good reasons.

    I know since 2010 that the University economies were very bad and that measurements like reducing stuff were on teh agenda; Its true the news, the University its bankrupt but not finished yet!

    Lets bring positive into the situation and face the facts, part of the problem its that the University should have Design Offices capable to produce work that could bring revenue to the University.

    I do Hope that Teachers and Students fight for this University.

  6. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    FAUTL was my school in the eighties, from where I gratuated, at the time in the Fine Arts School (from where it should have never left), and although we studied in the poorest of conditions, our spirits and imagination suffered nothing. I’m so proud of having attended FAUTL (then Architecture Department of the School of Fine Arts – what a fabulous name). How horrific has this pathetic country gotten that it now lets one of the major architectural schools in Europe fall under such conditions. A people that does not love its arts and artists doesn’t deserve them in the first place.
    Keeping my fingers crossed!

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