Nova Oeiras Neighbourhood Unit to UNESCO Heritage List: A Strong Case of Civic Identity and Intervention

    • Presentation speakers
      • José Manuel Fernandes, University of Lisbon, Portugal


    The Bairro Residencial de Nova Oeiras (Nova Oeiras Neighbourhood Unit / BRNO) stands in the surroundings of Lisbon, capital city of Portugal, as one of the most qualified and active built communities in the country. It houses about 2.000 people, between residents and workers, in a Modern design urban environment (40 ha), using the “Athens Charter” Le Corbusier – Modern Movement theory of the 1930´s in its core or nucleus (with 3 slab blocks and 6 point towers around a central plaza) and follows the “Garden City” principles of Howard´s 1900 document, with an area of family houses and private gardens around it. At the same time, Nova Oeiras represent a perfect and balanced neighbourhood unit example, as an application of the model proposed by Clarence Perry for the USA cities of the 1920´s. Global BRNO design reflects the great theoretical movements of Euro-American urbanism and built culture of the 20th century – and at the same time, offers great originality in its “mixed model/pattern”, which is highlighted by the rarity of the existence today of this type of urban-architectural unit complex around the world. BRNO diversity of space and form tried to articulate modern architecture & modern town planning mainly influenced by northern Europe typologies (isolated blocks and towers, in concrete), with the southern Europe urban tradition of patios and squares – the whole being framed by a creative landscape made up of native Mediterranean vegetal species. BRNO´s universal value, as a landscape, architectural and urban paramount, must be emphasized – at the same time, explaining as this site is sustained in an overall manner by the support and adhesion of its living community, showing a strong sense of local participation and initiative. BRNO also articulates the terrain continuity with the historical and cultural landmarks of its surrounding environment (Baroque Palace and gardens of the Marquis of Pombal; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Science research center; Oeiras medieval urban center; Agricultural research State centre). Authenticity and integrity of BRNO site will be presented, as well as the aspects regarding the municipal head management, with several and planned restoration works done in public spaces and buildings, civic and cultural initiatives (local service cabinet to attend population projects; annual reward to the best private restoration projects, etc.).