Embassy of Egypt / PROMONTORIO

Embassy of Egypt / PROMONTORIO - More Images+ 21

Lisbon, Portugal
  • Architects: PROMONTORIO
  • Area Area of this architecture project Area:  1510
  • Year Completion year of this architecture project Year:  2017
  • Photographs
    Photographs:João Morgado
  • Manufacturers Brands with products used in this architecture project
    Manufacturers:  Ferro-Wic, Mota Engil, WoodCare
© João Morgado

Text description provided by the architects. Located in Lisbon’s affluent quarter of Restelo, the new Embassy of Egypt stands on a plot in Avenida Dom Vasco da Gama which is typologically characterized by a string of large free-standing villas of the 1940s and 50s, many of which have been gradually been converted into diplomatic representations. 

© João Morgado

An embassy building is just as much a harbor and a safe-haven for its citizens, as it is the state’s foreign representation at the highest level.  It combines the idea of sheltering and safety, with the symbolic values of the country’s history and culture.  In this case, the compactness yielding from the plot’s regulatory constraints ultimately served as a design metaphor, having in mind Egypt’s founding tradition of massive stereotomic; one that emphasizes a certain idea of solemnity, the latter an essential element of embassy protocol. 


With this in mind, the building is essentially a monolith composed by three thick slabs combined with an interweaving mass of patterned walls with bas-reliefs discreetly evocative of ancient Egyptian geometric motifs.  Following the classical post-and-lintel system, these walls are interrupted at specific positions to form windows, while on the upper floor each corner forms a balcony by receding and revolving from one angle to the next. The facade is in precast concrete panels of a deep anthracite pigment that emphasizes the monumental gravitas of the ensemble, at the same time contrasting with the lightness of the window frames, which are handcrafted in delicate bronze coated stainless steel profiles.   

© João Morgado

Clarity of public and private circuits, as well as full visibility of visitors’ access, is a critical security issue at the core of the design.  Positioned like a large 19th-century villa in the center of the plot, surrounded by a tight garden on its contiguous sides, car access is made by a gentle ramp from Vasco da Gama avenue.  On the opposite side, a security gateway surveys and filters pedestrian public access to the embassy and to the consulate, respectively. 

Section Details

Inside, care has been taken to choose materials that weather gently and grow patina over the years, instead of becoming rundown.  With that in mind, the public areas are in large white stone slabs with wainscots and paneling in painted wood.  Finally, the centerpiece of the public area, an atrium with a kind of Babelesque stairway, that, like an Appian stage, is clad in a veiled solid wood railing that migrates to the walls to become an all-encompassing panel.  This central atrium is crowned by a skylight coffin which is filtered by an Islamic patterned louver that generates a kaleidoscopic light, casting a revolving shadow across the day.

© João Morgado
© João Morgado

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Project location

Address:Av. Dom Vasco da Gama, 1400 Lisbon, Portugal

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "Embassy of Egypt / PROMONTORIO" [Embaixada do Egito / PROMONTORIO] 27 Mar 2018. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/891346/embassy-of-egypt-promontorio> ISSN 0719-8884

© João Morgado

埃及驻里斯本大使馆 / PROMONTORIO

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