Bairro Destino

Urban & Social Regeneration Proposal/Plan

About the Proposal

Project: Aldeia Palacio Belmonte / “Bairro Destino”
Location: Alfama / Lisboa / Portugal


Designed, alive , sustainable, permanently renewed , organized hands in hands with the Community around , schools , foundations, aso. An Embassy of Portuguese Cultural Heritage and Modern Achievements.
Bairro Destino will be anchored on the House of the Marquis of Atalaia and the Earl of Belmonte Cabral who lived there for the past 500 years. The House perched on top of the ancient vernacular.

Western Ocean Capital City of Europe, next to the sky, overlooks monasteries and churches, the Alfama district, the Judaria and the Straw Sea with it’s steamers and caravels.

The Belmonte is a stunning sculpture, a 2197 years synthesis of Portuguese history. Its restoration which was done following the principles of the Chart of Venice and the ones of the DaST Compass (Design a Sustainable Tomorrow). Won a world recognition from Institutions and the press as a successful sustainable and very harmonious Urban Regeneration example.
Enclosed within the Travessa do Funil, the Largo do Contado Mor, the Beco da Maldonado, and the Rua dos Cegos, all names coming from the middle age , the House, is the perfect anchor to this project and link between past and present.

  • Inside its 2 red gates, on the East and North side of the Belmonte (phase 2) but starting from the Praca do Sol;
  • Will be built;
  • The Belmonte Residence Hotel a unit of 30 apartments and suites, small spa, gardens, a vegetable garden and a restaurant;
  • In the Centre corridor and all along of this newly designed Bairro historico,

Opened from 9am to 10pm to respect the habits of the Community living around a multi faceted stage; busy, happy, fluid, entertaining, funny, free; a tribute to the Portuguese who travelled the world, to the writers and first scientists and to the skilled craftsmen of these Portugal of the past.

Filled with little corners, quaint storefronts bringing to mind of the Portuguese and the tourists the traditional manual labour and where everyone will be able to participate to a workshop or buy handmade arti-facts, born in front of them, from the patient and industrious hands of craftsmen who still make their living as their forefathers have done for hundreds of years.

There will be a baker producing bread from Alentejo, a pastry shop preparing in front of the visitors the traditional Portuguese cakes (made of yolk by nuns) and tell the story of its origin. All those little shops will be alive and will smell good. A little wine bar a “Moda Antiga” with a display of portuguese wines, cheeses and a variety of olive oils.

The wine bar will be opened on a terrace facing the River Tejo, covered with vines to bring shade in summer , where “a vizinho” will tell stories about pirates and memorable wine drinking parties that took place in the XVth century. 2 squares, shaped as triangles – open air theatre-bordered by pine trees, already grown up, to be used either spontaneously by the neighbors for a fado contest or a theatre play or – open air exhibition, will be the centre of an organic market once a week.

A Tea-House decorated with the original boxes that arrived for the first time in the western world from the Far East in the XVI th century, filled with tea leaves, with a large terrace overlooking the pateo.

Here again, a man or a woman or a student, will chat about the first men bringing back to Portugal the tea leaves, the tea routes, the discovery of the Far East, how and why tea was to become an English tradition, complementary videos and films will be presented.

Different ateliers with outlets, in partnership with reknown Portuguese very old brand names will be opened; each corporation will have its traditional costume redesigned in a fashionable way. Some artists studios will also sale books, postcards, maps, chosen by the Belmonte team; lighting, at night, should be low/along the path. All the packaging will be done with “Bairro Destino” Aldeia Belmonte, Alfama, Lisbon-logo/colours.

The whole story, told between the 2 red gates, will be written around the Belmonte life from 1449 to 1805 (construction, people’s life, aso).

Phase 3

On the outside of the 2 red gates , in a vernacular friendly way , around additional anchors such as the 2 Freguesias, the Castelo, Arco, FSS, Chapito the Oikos Foundation and the community:

“Bairro Destino” Aldeia Belmonte will be dedicated to the modern Portuguese discoverers, scientists , writers, artists, designers, filmmakers, clowns, playwriters aso and to all the Institutions, Camaras, Associations, Companies (belonging or acting in the tourist region of Lisbon) willing to show their actions dedicated to the world to come.

The idea being to format “Bairro Destino” as one of the marketing agent for Today Portugal for cities like Tomar, Fatima, Sintra, Troia, Setubal, Cascais, Oeiras, Estoril and many others unknown and wonderful places or for the world reknown Portuguese specialties such as the Lusitanian horses.

In a word

“Bairro Destino” will be conceived to make the tourists be interested in discovering new places in Portugal. There will be exhibition rooms, show rooms equipped with state of the art communication tools and information banks and shops were the tourists will be able to discover the Portugal of today. But also an Academy for young students and craftsmen who will learn and help maintaining “Bairro Destino” and its environment.

The whole concept is about telling stories with the community from the past and the present to the 1.6 millions + tourists that visit the Castelo/Alfama every year bringing to the people who come to discover Lisbon , in an open and well designed spirit, a truely living experience of the Portuguese Cultural Heritage – traditional products and way of life while respecting the essence of this really and truly marvellous vernacular Ocean Capital City of the Western World with its ever changing light and while bringing ,at the same time to light the Portugal of the 21st century.

  • Restoring the ruins according to the Leipzig Chart and the DaST compass;
  • All being done in such a way that all the tourists would become Portugal’s new ambassadors.

To reach the right size to create a real powerful, 21st century designed and harmonious, funny and alive product able to receive an International recognition and be economically, socially viable and environmentaly sustainable we need space, either through LT lease contracts or by buying them from the CML or private owners or by integrating them to the project we have identified a few properties and the model with which we would develop the project.

The “Bairro Belmonte” will comprise three elements

Phase 1:
The Palácio Belmonte , the anchor of the whole project (concluded but still unsustainable).

Phase 2:
A Real Estate, Leisure and Hotel development adjacent,and to be linked, to the existing Palácio Belmonte, and within its 2 red gates which mark the extremities of this integrated project, incorporating development of the following vacant sites currently belonging to the Lisbon City Hall (CML).
The project has a potential gross build area of 3030m2 which will comprise 30 apartments/suites. The remaining buildable area will include small shops, galleries, theatre, restaurant, spa and two garden areas.

Phase 3:
A Sustainable Urban Regeneration and Touristic project in the immediate vicinity of Palácio Belmonte, but outside the 2 red gates which mark the core properties.

The properties for potential inclusion in this scheme are:

All ground floors (1500m2) will be dedicated to the Bairro Destino concept, and the upper floors(3000m2), when convenient, will be transformed into serviced designed apartments to introduce new residents into the historic neighbourhood.

500m2 will be dedicated to people living in the Castelo. The restoration is to be done according to DaST Compass and the Leipzig Charter, bringing integration and unification.