Exhibition at Architectural Association

"Tracing Portugal", Exhibition curated by Gonçalo Furtado and Pedro Castelo, Architectural Association, London, 2004


1.- P.R.
The work of three contemporary practices. AUZProjekt, Atelier de Santos e Pedro Maurício Borges will come under the spotlight in the AA’s Front Members Room. Addressing the current directions of Architecture in Portugal and highlighting the continuities and ruptures of the architectonic production, the exhibition focuses on a new generation of architects and bring their work into a wider European context.
The exhibition is curated by Gonçalo Furtado and Pedro castelo and produced by the Exhibition Team of the Architectural Association with a support by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

2. - TP – AN EMERGENT ARCHITECTONICAL SCENE (Gonçalo Furtado e Pedro Castelo)

Portugal although being a peripheral country, marginalized by its geographical condition and by a political dictatorship prolonged till 1974 still accomplished the creation of some protagonists in the architectonical context, which crossed their school of modernism with local references (such as Viana de Lima,Távora, Siza, etc.)
During these decades the scenario of the architectonical production emanated from the two major urban poles: Lisbon and Porto.
- In the first emerged receptivity to a certain kind of post-modernism, propitiated by the scale of commissions and plurality of references.
- In the second, we verify a convergence that would be called as ‘School of Porto’, and which achieve a larger international recognition.

The differences diluted, with more approachability to the exterior, with the augment of architectural schools, and the own nature of intervention of the discipline in the country.
It is in this context that through the mediatic dimension of architecture is possible the visibility and identification of some young generations.
Those young generations are no longer defined by a lineage of schools, but by a net of cross-disciplinary references and contexts which origin a palette of differentiated individual practices.
- Moreover we would say that this generation is capable to be involved with the world of construction, being concerned with high rigour of constructional detailing. Nevertheless their practice is also enriched with a certain theoretical experimentation, internal to the project and by the will of its mediatic presence.
We should also mention that the search for these architectonical discourses is enriched beyond the design activity, with an effervescent interventionism that covers and promotes the cultural debate about the discipline.

The young generation could be represented by some significant protagonists, such as: Pedro Mauricio Borges, a.s* office, and AUZprojekt.
- Pedro Mauricio Borges, is a teacher in the school of Coimbra and was awarded the national prize for architecture, he manipulates a familiar formal repertoire, with a phenomenological and complex poetic.
- Pedro Costa and Célia Gomes, which settle the ‘atelier de santos’ in Lisbon after being awarded several times; they register certain contemporary affinities expressed in constructions with strong image and visibility.
- AUZprojekt, affirmed his practice since recent competitions, with his experimental and cross-disciplinary projects endowed with strong political attitude.

This set of designers will able the to build by means of an exhibition and respective publication, what is the Portuguese contemporary practice and the meaning of these works in a larger European context.

The three practices on show are representative of a strong and dynamic architectonical scene in Portugal where different influences converge into a diverse and fulfilled architectonical outcome.

In fact, with these 3 works the exhibition cover a range of architectonical positions towards the contemporary world, where their expressions and expectations have different gradients of acceptance and continuity, or revolutionary break through.

In the futuristic work of AUZ one can see the emergence for experience and novelty, forced to detach itself from traditional codes in order to discover new images and shapes; always circumscribed by an urban culture inherited naturally by the author’s cosmopolitan experience.

The two houses designed by Pedro Mauricio Borges are the example of a not overanxious attitude that expresses itself through reinterpretation of established forms and proposes continuity with the local existence. The excitement of its design relies on the vast repertoire of historical and local references, adding a modern abstractedness or pure angular geometry and clean finish to its forms.

Finally the Atelier de Santos (as*) brings what could be considered the mixture, or balance between the two later positions. Working in consolidated ground, their projects dialogue with the existing and accept it, while contrast and step back (or forward?) with a different language, scale and feeling. Their research looks for an expressive abstract form graphically rich and tectonically innovative.


Pedro Mauricio Borges
Project 1 - Project Fonseca Macedo
Project 2 - Project Pacheco de Melo

AS, Atelier de Santos
Project 3 - Project Residências Universitárias
Project 4 -Project Biblioteca

AUZ Projekt
Project 5 - Project S.U.F.

4. – INDEX of the publication (Proposal)

by Pedro Castelo and Goncalo Furtado
Rupture and continuity
Alvaro Siza interviewed by Goncalo Furtado

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