The Fortress of S. Julião (or S. Gião) da Barra, on the mouth of the Tagus River near Lisbon, is a remarkable work of Portuguese military architecture. It was designed by Miguel de Arruda, "Master of the fortifications of the Kingdom, places of beyond and India", and represents the full assertion of the polygonal bastion system in Portugal, after the decisive experience of Mazagão in Morocco, directed by Benedetto de Ravenna and in which Miguel de Arruda had participated. The construction began in 1553 and was resumed in 1559 (after the death of King D. João III), receiving a decisive impulse in the regency of Cardinal D. Henrique and during the reign of D. Sebastião. In 1580, when the combined Spanish forces of the Duke of Alba and of the Marquis of Santa Cruz entered Portugal, it was already operational.
The original construction was, however, quite modified over the centuries. In the period of Spanish domination the low bastions and the terrace on the sea side were added. With the restoration of Portugal’s independence the two land bastions and the moat were greatly reformulated and enlarged. In the period of the Marquis of Pombal the lighthouse tower was added, among other works.
The original fortification displayed five bastions, three positioned against the sea and two other over land, in what appears to have been a replica of the Fortezza da Basso of Florence, designed by Antonio da Sangallo, in 1534. The recent publication of the Atlas of the Marquis of Heliche, kept in the Krigsarkivert of Stockholm and containing a plan of the fortress (at the cistern level) drawn by Italian Leonardo di Ferrari before the Philippine alterations, provided a fundamental contribution to the knowledge of what might have been the original fortress. Another plan (apparently of the same hand) of the fortress’ esplanade level, is also in circulation.
The students' work consisted in the hypothetical reconstruction of the original fortress design, through a 3D representation based upon the aforementioned couple of plans, on other more recent graphic representations (which were already known) and on current data of the fortress.
André Pleno · Joana Alves · João Leite · João Marques · Loriane Freire