The Maria Tereza and Vasco Vilalva Prize, established by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, amounting to €50,000, was delivered to the functional and constructive rehabilitation project, redesign of the furniture and painting restoration of the Church of Santa Isabel in Lisbon, coordinated by architect João Guilherme Appleton, former PhD student and invited professor at Técnico (Integrated Master’s degree – Architecture).
Founded in honour of Vasco Vilalva, the Prize’s objective is to distinguish the very best culture heritage restoration projects undertaken by private entities within Portugal. The jury – composed of António Lamas (Chair), Raquel Henriques da Silva, Santiago Macias, Gonçalo Byrne, Luís Paulo Ribeiro and Rui Vieira Nery (director of the Gulbenkian Culture Program) – highlighted the excellence of the conservation and restoration work and the enriching of this Church built in 1742 on the initiative of Patriarch Tomás de Almeida.
The jury highlighted “the multi-disciplinary and extremely highly qualified team (coordinated by Father J.M. Pereira de Almeida and the Architect João Appleton) that undertook all of the work through deploying the learnings and knowledge of engineering, conservation and restoration, the history of art, of equipment design and contemporary art” and “the intervention methodology through successive phases that, in 2020, has concentrated on the valuation of the initial Church altar and the installation of new liturgical furniture”.
The award ceremony took place this Monday, 12th October. The spectacular and refined aesthetic of the painting project by Michael Biberstein, which covers the totality of the vault, is one of the leading contemporary art interventions within the scope of classical architecture, which was completed following the death of the artist with accompanying supervision by the artist Julião Sarmento and the curator Delfim Sardo.