Startrek Chess

02022-03-21 | Lx, Photos | 2 comments

Some cities are essentially flat, take L.A. or Houston for example, some are flat but build high, like NYC or Tokyo, others, usually the ones that are built on hills, use that extra dimension to stack houses in interesting ways. Lisbon is one such city. Being over three millennia old helps because there is the additional layer of time, as people build on the ruins of older buildings. While many American cities look like a regular chessboard, Lisbon looks more like Startrek Chess.

IMG 5899
The first floor is on one street and the third floor has an entrance from the cross street. In Lisbon this isn’t unusual at all and I have photographed many examples of this, because I find it fascinating. I imagine it makes an architect’s job more challenging. In this next photo you can see a pool and a playground on top of houses.
IMG 5824
I imagine builders in Lx are very good at making solid foundations and strong walls that can hold back the gravity of a hill that carries another building.

I find this multi-dimensionality very interesting and beautiful. More layers, more angles!


  1. anne

    interesting indeed.
    Yep – foundations must be very solid.-

    I once delivered closing remarks at a conference. foundations – basically – if can’t do that right- well – your screwed !
    Like so obvious ….it just baffles me why leaders screw that up !!

    old cities really are something to marvel at.

  2. JaneParhamKatz

    Confession:. I am in love with Portugal. Lisboa’s structure and beauty swept me away. Its personality and rich history are extremely stimulating. Where else but Portugal could there ever be such a fascinating place as Sintra. And Porto could seduce anyone with its gorgeous multilevels, wineries (sublime Port wine of course), deep history, busy river, and it’s ultramodern performing arts center. I haven’t spent a fraction of the time I would like to in Portugal.

    You might be surprised to know there is a U.S. city that has some qualities in common with Lisboa:. The Bronx, New York. It has a rough reputation, but I stayed a couple weeks there recently in an AirBnB apartment. I spent a lot of walking time. The Bronx topography is full of hills so sharp they installed stairs to get from one street to the next. It has acres and acres of green parks, and some of the most beautiful trees all over the place. A Jewish deli that tops Katz’s Deli at half the cost (Liebmann’s). Not to mention the massive NY Botanical Garden, the fabulous Bronx Zoo, and the incomparable Yankee Stadium. Plus you are a short subway ride from all the cultural treasures of Manhattan and Brooklyn.

    But I like the Portuguese people and culture. What a life!


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