My last post unveiled a little something about the project that is keeping me from updating this blog. Now, here is the first public announcement of a book that is actually making me feel quite proud.
Why is this book leaving me proud? Because in its massive 384 pages (co-incidentally, the same number of built works submitted to the Mapei/Ordem dos Arquitectos “national selection,” from which 80 buildings of recent Portuguese architecture are here showcased) it also bears what I deem to be the first moment in a long time in which 8 critical essays offer a provocative balance of what architects have been up to – or not – in Portugal.
The last time this sort of amount of critical perspectives on Portuguese architecture was put together was back in 2001, in Arquitectura Portuguesa Contemporânea 1991-2001. But at the time, I was amazed at how that volume was totally schizophrenic: the images were all about Portuguese architecture feeling good about itself, while the texts announced the doomsday of precisely the same reality.
Almost a decade after, what is the new balance?
You will have to wait for the book -to be published the 3rd of October on the occasion of the exhibition of the same name- but I may already advance that the critical views included here particularly address architecture’s presence in Portuguese society. And buildings and interventions of every kind are also shown as part of an unexpected diversity, specially when it regards to what we are used to talk about when we are talking about Portuguese architecture.
Although diversity is no longer unanimous and “identifiable”, it bears witness to a much more exhilarating scenario – one in which conservatism under the wing of the so-called “Portoguese school” is being left behind to open up this national production to a new, conceptually grounded, creolisation of architecture.