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The Cartographic Café

Proposal for a pavilion integrating scientific discoveries sculptures wall, located next to the Parque subway station in Lisbon

30 November 2020
Year :
1995 - 1998
Location :
Parque station, Lisbonne

In 1995, after the construction of the Parque Subway Station in Lisbon, about Human Rights and Portuguese discoveries, the Metropolitano de Lisboa commissioned us to create an artistic and architectural project that would be located directly above the station, on an unoccupied space. We both, the metropolitan and us, wanted to continue to use the concept of discovery as a pedagogical artwork.

This work was designed in dialogue with the Parque station. The station dealing with the geographic discoveries of Portuguese sailors and human rights. The Cartographic-Café is about scientific discoveries and was conceived after the book “ The Discoverers” by Daniel Boorstin.

The Cartographic-Café project is a new contemporary small restaurant-Pavillon, with direct access to the station, a garden, and external-internal arch structures.
The architecture was designed by New York architect Elaine Monchak. The building is made of glass, steel, and wood. There is a flat roof with a terrasse above which 3 large sails will be suspended from steel poles. The sails and many other architectural details are reminders of the deep Portuguese traditions of ocean sailors and travelers. The “bow” is designed to contain 37 sculptures that tell the history of the scientific discoveries from ancient times to contemporary society.

Together, these two projects are creating a very special landmark to visit in the city. They create links between human rights, sciences, and education.
In 1998, for political reasons, the client Metropoliatno de Lisbon stopped the project. The pavilion was ready to be built. 75% of the sculptures were almost finished.

But 24 years later in 2020, the client decided it wanted to reactivated the project which will now be built at a new subway station : Encarnação or we are amused to say : re-incarnation !

The themes of the sculptures are as follows:

The Universe, time, the moon and time cycles
The Middle Age and the flat world in T/O
The silks route and the Crusades
The sacred mountains and the invention of God
The marine discoveries
Copernic, Tycho Brahé, Kepler
The Art of Looking
Galilée, and the telescope
The Middle Age knowledge of the body as a book
Vesale and Da Vinci body as a network
The Salons
Linnée and the classification of nature
Darwin’s Evolution and Stephen J.Gould
Paper, printing, and translations
The invention of memory
The public memory: Marx
The private memory: Freud
Study of society: anthropology


Elaine Mochak, architect
FTL Happold, engineering
Marc Mimram, engineering
Daniel Boorstin, historian and director of the Congress Library
Collaborators : Pascal Lavoué, Maria João Ribeiro, Rita Gomez Ferrão, Maria Pia
Lohana Schein, legal adviser
Thomas Régent, architect model maker
Alberto Barradas, Ferconsult, architect


Metropolitano de Lisboa
Luis Almeida