Graduate School of Art and Design
Arq. Vítor Figueiredo
Caldas da Rainha

Further information

In 1998 the Secil Architecture Award recognized the architect Vítor Figueiredo for his project for the Graduate School of Art and Design, in Caldas da Rainha.

Based in Lisbon since 1957, the architect has built an extensive portfolio of work beginning with the construction of a house in São João do Estoril in 1958. He is known for designing, between 1963 and 1978, a considerable number of social housing units of great aesthetic dignity, despite the scarce economic resources allocated to them. In the eighties, his highlights were the projects and works of the Mitra Centre at the University of Évora and the Amphitheatres Block of the University of Aveiro, among others.

This is how the Jury President, Alcino Soutinho, described the Secil Architecture Award 1998, “… the recognition, in respect of the community, of the merit of a remarkable work…”, which also “…confirms the quality and overall output of its designer“, recognizing a single work, but based on a solid professional career.

He was born on 17 February, 1929, in Figueira da Foz. He graduated in architecture at the Porto ESBAP in 1959 with 19 points. He has worked as an independent professional since 1960 from his office in Lisbon. He is also visiting Lecturer at the Department of Architecture of the University of Coimbra. His professional distinctions include the following:


National AICA Prize -1986
1st Prize Residential Programmes – Setúbal District, 1989


1st Place in the Design of the Mitra Centre, University of Evora, 1991
1st Place in the Design of the Graduate School of Art and Design – Caldas da Rainha, I.P.L, 1992
2nd Place in the Design of the Vice-chancellor’s suite, University of Aveiro, 1993


III Fine Arts Exhibition – Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, 1986
EUROPÁLIA Exhibition – Brussels, 1990
“Contemporary Architecture” Exhibition – Serralves, Porto, 1993
Portugal Exhibition – Frankfurt 1997

Conferences and Seminars

“First Cycle of the Architecture Projects” – ARCO, 1981
“Architecture Seminars”, School of Fine Arts of Porto, 1982
“Macau Meetings”, “L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui” 1983.
Lectures in the Architecture Faculties of Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra

For Vitor Figueiredo, the practice of architecture is a way of constantly questioning the world: questioning ways of living, questioning fashions, questioning the institution of architecture, questioning the meaning and value of celebrations of space. Architecture was not and is not the chosen medium for recording or transmitting thought. It is only the most accessible, most available medium for a job that has to be done, put into practice.

Work technical aspects: Graduate School of Art and Design

Location: Caldas da Rainha

Project date: 1992-1993

Date of construction: 1994-1997

Design: Vítor Figueiredo

Collaborators: Eduardo Trigo de Sousa/Nuno Arenga/Rui Marrafa/Teresa Almeida/Isabel Martins

Architect/Landscaper: Luísa Borralho/Elsa Calhau Client: The Ministry of Education

Managing entity: Polytechnic Institute of Leiria

Structure: BETAR, Lda.

Electricity: Ruben Sobral

Water/sewerage: Victor Rodrigues

Infrastructure: Rui Mendonça

Builder: SOMEC (Jan.1994-Feb.1996) /José Coutinho,S.A. (Nov.1996-Jul.1997)

By combating what he himself call the architect’s bag of tricks, each of Victor Figueiredo’s architectural projects is presented as a proposal for accommodating – interrogating – the activities or life that are used as programmatic pretexts. He offers us space for living poetically rather than objects to be catalogued in the restricted and restrictive context of any media-approved trend.

Duarte Cabral de Mello, Architect, in Secil Architecture Award 1998, Edição Secil

In a clearing in a pine forest whose “pre-existence” was the ruin of the former Sao Isidro Hospital, another identity was sought for this building and the seductions of the beautiful and extensive pine forest were accepted. The act, which defines the project, started by being conceptually highly autonomous, almost anti-contextualist, by not seeking a “site” but the qualification of a place.

Vítor Figueiredo, Architect, in Secil Architecture Award 1998, Edição Secil

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