Open lecture | Peter Mark

The Dynamics of a global Architectural Idiom: Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century ‘Portuguese Style’ Houses, from Brazil to West Africa to India

Peter Mark | Wesleyan University


18 fevereiro, 18h
Sala 0.06, edifício I&D (piso 0) / NOVA FCSH
Entrada livre


Portugal’s sixteenth-century global expansion is reflected in a distinctive, hybrid material culture. Among the most salient aspects of this hybridization is the architectural idiom that quickly came to be known as “Portuguese style” houses. Ideally adapted to a tropical or sub-tropical environment, this architecture was characterized by whitewashed exterior walls, by the incorporation of a verandah or porch, and in some instances by a small turret or tower. “Portuguese style” buildings brought together elements from vernacular architecture in Portugal, from house construction techniques in West Africa, and from building forms from Goa (or India). The style spread with the Portuguese commercial globalization to Brazil and through the Indian Ocean. Of particular interest is the dynamic process whereby certain architectural elements were retained or selected from the diverse cultures that contributed to this hybrid material culture.


Peter Mark


Peter Mark is Professor of Art History ‘emeritus’ at Wesleyan University in Connecticut (u.s.) and Professor Convidado at FLUL. He is also invited scholar at the Max-Planck-Institut in Halle, Germany. This spring he will be ‘chercheur invité’ at the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris. His current research focuses on the dynamics of cultural inter-action and hybridization, both with regard to social structure and economic practices, and also with regard to material culture.