Arquitectura Viva
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Arquitectura Viva 59


Un recorrido por el Portugal de la Expo 98
III-IV 1998
From Porto to Lisbon The architectural image of contemporary Portugal has come to be associated with the dazzling light and purity of lines of Porto's lyrical builders. Now, from the banks of the river Douro, the modernizing impetus of a country steeped in a process of renewal has reached the estuary of the Tagus. This area has been made the scene of the century's last world fair, through which old faded Lisbon aspires to consolidate a future of metropolitan dimensions. Portuguese architecture today situates itself between the legacy of wise traditions and the expectations of a future still in the making.   Antonio Angelillo
Identity and Change
Latest Portuguese Architecture
Juan Miguel Hernández León
Portugal Notebook
Siza in the Cities
Nuno Portas
Capital of the Future
Lisbon and Expo 98
Buildings: Projects and Realizations
Canonical Character. Amid the jubilation that prevails over the Expo precinct, Siza and Carrilho da Graça have for their respective pavilions chosen the clear-cut geometries and traditional materials of Portuguese architecture; equally exemplary in its dialogue with the past is the conversion into a hotel of the monastery of Bouro, a work of Souto de Moura.   Álvaro Siza
Portuguese Pavilion, Expo 98
João Luis Carrilho da Graça
Pavilion of the Seas, Expo 98
Eduardo Souto de Moura
Hotel at Bouro, Amares
Internal Renovation. The new learning centers reflect both the modernization of Portugal and the types favored by the country's recent architectural production, represented here by three prismatically shaped educational facilities: an engineering school by Adalberto Dias, a series of veterinary laboratories by Rocha & Gigante, and a university building by Nuno and José Mateus.   Adalberto Dias
Engineering Faculty, Aveiro
J. Álvaro Rocha & José Gigante
Laboratories, Vila do Conde
Nuno & José Mateus
Business School, Setúbal
Books, Exhibitions, Personalities
  Art / Culture
Between Piano and Koolhaas. The Genoese Renzo Piano is the first high-tech architect ever to win the Pritzker, while the Dutch Rem Koolhaas inaugurates a house and an exhibition on domestic projects, both in Bordeaux.   Richard Ingersoll
Piano, Pritzker Prize
François Chaslin
Koolhaas in Bordeaux
Chronicle of Losses.The American Dominique de Menil was a great Maecenas of modern art and architecture; and the Italian-Swiss Alberto Sartoris, one of the last theorists of the rationalist avant-garde..   Stephen Fox
Dominique de Menil, 1908-1997
José Laborda
Alberto Sartoris, 1901-1998
Invitations to Read. Essays on different themes, biographies of great figures, repertoires of buildings, and reflections on the city of tomorrow: publishers are once again promoting architecture through the written word.   Focho's Cartoon
Kenzo Tange
Various Authors
Interiors, Design, Construction
  Technique / Style
Three Curved Covers. The huge concrete shell built by Foster houses a collection of historic airplanes; the wooden arches forming the oval cupola designed by Ito serve as a ceiling for sport competitions; and the wide warped platform constructed by Sejima and Nishizawa acts as both a roof and an exhibition space for a university art center.   Norman Foster
American Air Museum, Duxford
Toyo Ito
O-Dome, Odate
Sejima & Nishizawa
Multimedia Workshop, Ogaki
To close, the products section tackles the problematic matter of the skylight, a recurring element in projects that is not always easily adaptable to the demands of southern climates; and addressing the creative possibilities offered by a computer game, Fernando Valderrama speculates on a plausible future profession dedicated to the design of virtual spaces.

  Ignacio Paricio
English Summary
From Porto to Lisbon
Fernando Valderrama
Mysteries of Myst

Luis Fernández-Galiano

From Porto to Lisbon

In a quarter of a century, Portugal has passed from shade to limelight. The revolution of the carnations crossed the threshold of freedom; the revolution of the euro and the Expo now traverses the shadow line of modernity. Political and social freedom melted the boundaries of ignorance that had made the country a blind spot on the European map, and its neighbors were amazed to find a landscape both moving and quiet. Economic and technical modernity, in turn, have regenerated the self-esteem of a melancholic nation, which has exchanged nostalgia for a hopeful saudade of the future. In architecture, the spring of the carnations allowed the gradual diffusion of the Porto school; and the spring of the euro and the Expo has consolidated Portugal's integration into a global economy, with the attendant construction in Lisbon of emblematic works designed by foreigners. From the Douro to the Tagus, this Atlantic country has swiftly moved from penumbra to brilliance, and from poetry to spectacle.

Spaniards and Portuguese have shared so many periods of history that the symmetries of this latest stretch come as no surprise: Spain's political transition took place shortly after the establishment of democracy in Portugal, while the now ongoing celebrations in Lisbon reproduce the climate of euphoria and optimisim that the Seville Expo and Barcelona Olympics had created in 1992. Long since the destiny of both countries was determined by marriage alliances between dynasties, Spain and Portugal are now living a moment of spontaneous fraternity that nourishes mutual awareness and cultural exchanges: literary, musical, and of course architectural. On the Spanish side of the 'dry line', admiration for the Portuguese renaissance first centered on the fertile example of the Porto architects, but eventually spread to include the vigorous energy of Lisbon, which represents and expresses the country at large.

Many will raise an eyebrow at the Expo. Faced with the coloristic muddle of the pavilions, the naïf technology of the canopies and the trivial colossalism of the grounds, they will suggest we lose our way instead in the labyrinth of the Alfama, stroll unhurriedly through the Baixa or stop at length in the miradors of the Bairro Alto. But the placid theatrical beauty of old Lisbon cannot conceal the deficiencies of its infrastructure, which a collective challenge like the Expo has helped to alleviate. No one has understood this split character of Lisbon as well as a master from Porto, the wise and genial Álvaro Siza, who has been silent in the Chiado yet eloquent in the Expo; his serene concrete tent and arhythmic stone porticoes combine mute monumentality with a sweeping welcome gesture to create a gravid baldachin, spanning a luminous and shaded plaza on the edge of the water: this light and heavy canopy will for a few months shelter the marine heart of an ocean-faring nation.

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