pedro machado costa + celia gomes overhaul high school in lisbon with a scenic approach

pedro machado costa + celia gomes overhaul high school in lisbon with a scenic approach

the ‘luis de freitas branco high school’ is a redevelopment project of an existing school located on the outskirts of lisbon. due to the site’s steep topography, the existing school was constituted by several building containing the whole program. the design team decided to demolish some of the existing buildings and reorganise all exterior spaces. this is achieved by the creation of various levels developed at different heights, allowing a more fluid circulation throughout the school.

all images by joao morgado



portugal based pedro machado costa and celia gomes propose two large parallel volumes, drawing the boundary of the exterior square, while also clarifying the use of the whole complex. these two masses, in exposed concrete, contain the library, cafeteria, auditorium, and administration of the school. the circulation and leisure spaces assume the main role in order to ensure the permanence of the students. the existence of large indoor and outdoor courtyards characterised by their unevenness, the use of triple ceiling heights, and large ramps are designed with a scenographic approach, intended to allow different uses and to create spaces that are important in the functional organisation of the whole building. the academic areas are found in the pre existing buildings, however the green blocks are spatially articulated with the courtyards and the paths that are created by the design team.

entrance and boundary of the exterior square

the strategy was overhauling part of the high school and reorganizing the exterior spaces

indoor courtyard

new building built in exposed concrete

triple ceiling heights


main hall

large ramps

new building with library, auditorium, cafeteria, and school administration

spatially articulated spaces



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom

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