The complex is located in a large seven-hectare park, on the outskirts of the city, which was meant to be integrated into Lisbon’s new network of communication routes. The buildings that house the museum, auditoriums, library and headquarters of the prestigious institution occupy different volumes concentrated at the extreme north of the park. The low-rise buildings, with simple volumes and a clear and efficient organization of circulation routes, sit atop a vast underground construction that houses the building systems and a parking area.
The same spirit governs the choice of materials and construction systems, with concrete playing a central role. It was used in both the structure – either pre-stressed or prefabricated reinforced concrete, with spans that reach up to 17 meters – and in the finishes, where maximum use is made of exposed concrete, exquisitely combined with granite cladding, bronze joinery and large windows that open onto the gardens. The latter are a fundamental part of the design, very present from the interiors, which blend in with the landscape, and in the program that stretches across the park in the form of platforms, paths, water features, sculptures and an outdoor amphitheatre, in an intervention that was unparalleled in Portugal in the 1950s.