Quadrum Gallery is part of the Coruchéus complex, designed by Fernando Peres Guimarães and inaugurated in 1971. The ground floor space of the south body – which hosts Quadrum Gallery – was initially designed to serve as a restaurant and bar to support the 50 municipal workshops on the upper floors. The glass façades conditioned the conversion of this space into a gallery, as proposed by Dulce d’Agro – an artist who became one of the most important gallerists in the country. This functional adaptation took place in 1973, benefiting from a series of underground and ground floor spaces that were transformed to house the exhibition spaces and office.
The glass panes running along the length of the east and west façades of the exhibition room required less conventional exhibition arrangements from the outset, including a movable aluminium structure with felt-lined panels prepared for the exhibition of two-dimensional formats. The versatility of this arrangement resulted in a wide variety of mounting solutions.
Quadrum Gallery holds a position of great importance within the Portuguese institutional fabric. The gallery will always be remembered as a space dedicated to promoting the most diverse experimentalism, especially between the 25 April Revolution of 1974 and the early 1980s. During this period, among many other proposals, Quadrum presented performative actions by Ana Hatherly, José Conduto, João Vieira, Gina Pane and Ulrike Rosenbach; visual poetry by E. M. de Melo e Castro and Salette Tavares; installations by Ana Vieira, Alberto Carneiro, José Barrias and Irene Buarque; and new research in painting by artists such as Noronha da Costa, Álvaro Lapa, António Sena, Pires Vieira, Jorge Pinheiro and Ângelo de Sousa.
Dulce d’Agro ran the gallery until the mid-1990s, followed by a period of informal direction in which António Cerveira Pinto developed lines of programming between 1999 and 2004. Quadrum has been managed and programmed by the Municipal Galleries since 2010.