“As a kid, I spent every summer visiting my extended family in Portugal,” says New York City–based photographer Armando Rafael. “Porto was always my favorite city — there’s a grittiness, a raw quality, but also a liveliness. I love walking around without a specific agenda, seeing if anything pops out.”
On a recent trip for Travel + Leisure, something new caught Rafael’s eye. “I toured around with an old army friend of my father’s, who told me about Porto’s history and showed me all the iconic Art Deco buildings.” This Modernist movement, having emerged from Paris a decade earlier, exerted a strong influence on Portuguese architects in the 1930s and 40s. Rafael wandered Baixa, the historic center, shooting preserved masterworks that have become beloved symbols of Porto’s urban identity.
“Now when I visit, I always notice the fonts and façades. I love those little moments of recognition.”
— as told to Hannah Walhout
Casa de Serralves, a mansion designed for the Count of Vizela in the 1930s by Porto-born, Paris-trained architect José Marques da Silva.
From left: Passos Manuel parking garage, which opened in 1939; Cinema Batalha, built between 1944 and 1947, is set to reopen in 2021 after an extensive renovation.
A version of this story first appeared in the June 2020 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline "Lasting Impressions."