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The brief for the Banco de Portugal competition was of comparable size and complexity to the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank. In fact the architects worked closely with the same team of consultants when formulating the design. The project comprises over 100,000 sqm of accommodation for Portugal’s national bank including offices, public facilities and storage for gold bullion and paper currency. Considerations of security led to the split in the design of operational and socio-cultural activities between the 2 plots of land, which comprised the site. The main bank was located to the south with a coin museum, auditorium and staff sports centre to the north.

The main building sits on a podium, which provides a constant ground level on a sloping site. The bank’s principal fae to a new urban park consists of a number of layers, which allow views through to the steel framed marble clad drum housing 8 lifts. They provide primary vertical access to all nine floors of office accommodation. The main entrance addresses the Gulbenkian Institute to the South. The design provides for a flexible framework for future expansion with an efficient range of floor plates from 12.5m to 21m wide, depending on the ratio of cellular to open plan offices specified in the brief. The six underground floors provide parking for 700 cars, extensive archives and secure stores.

The specifically designed series of pairs of eccentrically braced frames respond to the particular seismic conditions of the site and contain all of the vertical services. A light-weight bridge links the main public hall to the adjacent park and main bus and underground transport exchange for the City. Armstrong Associates were placed runners-up in this competition.

Banco de Portugal