“It’s not just because of his Hungarian origins, he was much more than that. Carlos Mardel was very important to Lisbon’s history. The fact that he is a Hungarian architect is a bonus for us.” states, at the beginning of the visit, Miklos Halmai, Hungarian ambassador to Portugal, who presented credentials in 2019.
Charles Mardel was born in 1695 in Pozsony (present-day Bratislava) then in the Kingdom of Hungary. It’s a little name, but, in fact, the history of Lisbon is very important, or not one behind the Águas Livres Aqueduct, the Rato Fountain and the Water Reservoir. Oeiras.
The architect was a silent presence that did not seek fame and little is known about his life or why he came to Portugal. There are some speculations, but none of them are certain. “There aren’t many pictures of him. says the Hungarian diplomat.
“We would never have had an aqueduct and the reconstruction of Lisbon if we hadn’t had a Carlos Mardel” says the coordinator of the Lisbon Museum’s research team, Paulo Almeida Fernandes, challenged by the DN to provide a framework for the architect.
The Aqueduto das Obras Livres and the Mãe D’águas played essential roles in Lisbon in the 18th century. These two monuments linked to adel served for the distribution of water, supplements and sanitation at the time. Great creativity as an architect.
“At the time, there was still a debate about where Mãe D’Água should be because it was going to give the entire water channel to supply Lisbon. Therefore, he this location in the mulberry trees. The same place relatively high to then make all the connection branches at the working time explains Paulo Almeida Fernandes.
The Hungarian architect shortly after the reservoir, the three large fountains connected to Mãe D’Água: São Pedro de Alcântara (which no longer exists), do Rato and da Esperança.
For Miklos Halmai, the Rato Fountain “is very central and in an architectural sense, the most significant”. With an extremely interesting functionality, the fountain has two floors: one floor designed for the use of animals and the upper floor, of course, for people.
“When tourists come to Lisbon, they don’t usually visit this type of monument, just by chance. In Hungary, we don’t have this type of fountain, it’s a very Portuguese thing”, emphasizes the ambassador.
In the fountain it is possible to find distinctive symbols of Mardel’s architecture. One of the most striking in its signature is the skylight. Along the aqueduct are also present the characteristic elements of this personality. One of several stories is one of the few places where it is shown and identified who was the architect behind it. Built before the 1755 earthquake, it was one of the few works that survived the devastation of November 1st, All Saints’ Day. He stayed to tell the story.
“The Águas Livres Aqueduct is one of the things we show when someone comes from Hungary and we say that it was designed by Carlos Mardel.” declares Halmai.
While working on the Águas Livres Aqueduct, the architect quickly rose to leadership positions in several existing institutions. However, he was not the first choice for the reconstruction, but after the earthquake, it was the engineer Manuel-mor of the kingdom. Carlos Mardel ascends to the charge of the leadership of the reconstruction of his Lisbon, after death.
The Marquis of Pombal, however, chose the Hungarian architect and not any of the others to build his personal palace. This palace is still used today as the seat of the Chamber of Oeiras. A different facet that shows how he’s not just “a technician and he had style.”
The Hungarian ambassador in Lisbon intends to make an exhibition to get to know Carlos Mardel’s work better, through the drawings and archives that exist in both. The aim is to publish a message, Hungarian culture and your work.