House in Foz do Douro II / José Carlos Cruz

© FG+SG

Architects: José Carlos Cruz
Location: ,
Architect In Charge: José Carlos Cruz
Project Year: 2010
Project Area: 885 sqm
Photographs: FG+SG - Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

The Recessionary Interviews: Portugal’s Luis Pedra Silva

Luis Pedra Silva.

When Pritzker-Prize Winner Eduardo Souta de Moura faces unemployment in his own home country, you know things must be bad.

Due to the dissolution of its Parliament in 2005, Portugal has been in economic slow-down even before the 2008 global Recession set in. Factor in the Recession, and Portugal’s staggeringly weak economy rivals even Spain’s, making Portugal – along with Greece and Ireland – one of the EU’s “crisis countries.”

For the first of our “,” we spoke with Portuguese architect Luis Pedra Silva, of Pedra Silva Architects, who gave us a first-hand account of the situation, the Darwinian mindset he’s been forced to adopt, and his (he’ll admit) stubbornly optimistic belief that Portuguese architecture, which boasts a particularly plucky history, will survive this crisis to the end.

Read the Complete Interview with Luis Pedra Silva, after the break…

“Working with the 99%” wins Future Cities Prize in Venice

Aerial photo of the PRODAC neighborhood. - Courtesy of

At the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale, three competing projects have been announced winners of the Future Cities: Planning for the 90 per cent compeition: ateliermob (), Municipal Housing Secretariat of São Paulo (Brazil), and Interazioni Urbane (Italy). The projects were narrowed down from the exhibition’s ten participants, which were selected from more than 100 international submissions. Portugese practice ateliermob has shared with us their winning entry, “Working with the 99%”, a case study on the progress and community work of Lisbon’s self-built PRODAC neighborhood.

The jury, comprised of Anna Detheridge, Joseph Grima, Richard Ingersoll, Fulvio Irace, and Mary Jane Jacob, stated: “Ateliermob, “Working with the 99%” a participatory project in Lisbon Portugal based on a different approach which redefines the architect’s role. Ateliermob have envisaged for themselves a central function stemming from the attempt to answer a basic question: how can architects attempt to solve the many problems they see around them working for clients that do not have the money to pay for their services. The answer they found is to place themselves at the center of a process in which the architect becomes mediator, fundraiser, creating an essential link between the public administration, the financial system and the community enabling the local residents without property or rights to achieve social status and dignity.”

Continue after the break for the architects’ project description. 

Villa Extramuros / Vora Arquitectura

© Adrià Goula

Architects: Vora Arquitectura
Location: , Portugal
Design Team: Jordi Fornells, Rolf Heinemann
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Adrià Goula, Alexandre Gempeler

Why Spain’s Crisis Is the End of An Era

Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao inspired cities across Spain to get their own “Guggenheim,” many of which now stand empty/unfinished in the light of the country’s economic crisis. Photo via Flickr User CC Txanoduna

’s ripples have reached far. We, in the midst of a veritable architecture meltdown, can attest to that. But even our situation can’t compare to Spain’s, a country where “the mother of all housing bubbles” meant the Recession didn’t just land – it tsunami-ed onto her shores.

The metaphor may seem overblown, but it’s not so far off. Spain, a country that once stuffed its cities with show-stopping cultural centers, airports, and municipal buildings, has been shocked still.The new Spain is populated with empty high-rises, half-finished “starchitecture,” and plans gathering dust. A quarter of its architects are out of work and about one half of its studios have closed their doors.

Spain, once a beacon for architects across the globe, has hit a standstill.  For the first time in decades, thousands of architects are fleeing its shores. So what does this mean for architecture in Spain – and the world? Has the Recession signified the end of an era? Has the torch of architectural innovation been passed?

In a word? Yes.

Exclusive insight from some of Spain and ’s acclaimed architects, after the break…

Juso Continuing Care Unit / SARAIVA + ASSOCIADOS

© João Morgado

Architects: SARAIVA + ASSOCIADOS
Location: Aldeia de Juso, ,
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: João Morgado

U House / Jorge Graca Costa

© FG + SG

Architects: Jorge Graca Costa
Location: ,
Project Area: 300.0 sqm
Photographs: FG + SG – Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

DT House / Jorge Graca Costa

© FG + SG

Architects: Jorge Graca Costa
Location: Oeiras,
Photographs: FG + SG - Fernando Guerra, Sergio Guerra

OCO – Ocean & Coastline Observatory wins [UN] RESTRICTED ACCESS 2011

Courtesy of Manel Espada
As previously announced, the Portuguese architects behind “OCO – Ocean & Coastline Observatory” have won Habitat for Humanity’s Open Architecture Challenge: [UN] RESTRICTED ACCESS 2011. Over 500 teams from 74 countries submitted innovative solutions for the recovery and reuse of disabled and abandoned military sites. These submissions were filtered down to 13 finalists by a jury of 33 esteemed professionals. The Lisbon-based architects of OCO claimed grand prized with their vision to redevelop a desolate military site, that once defended the coast of in , into a civic space that promotes coastal preservation.

Continue after the break for more. 

House in Torreira / Nuno Silva

© Ivo Tavares Studio

Architects: Nuno Silva
Location: Torreira,
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Ivo Tavares Studio

N2X035 HOUSE / N2X Arquitectos

© José Maria Oliveira

Architects: N2X Arquitectos
Location: Azores,
Design Team: Isabel Ourique, Pedro Furtado
Project Year: 2012
Photographs: José Maria Oliveira

L02CR House / ARQX Architects

Courtesy of ARQX Architects

Architects: ARQX Architects
Location: Oporto,
Design Team: Miguel Meirinhos, Pedro da Graça Lopes
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Courtesy of ARQX Architects

227 Flat / OODA

© ctrl + N | productions

Architects: OODA
Location: Oporto, Portugal
Design Team: Diogo Brito, Rodrigo Vilas-Boas, Francisco Lencastre
Project Year: 2012
Project Area: 150.0 sqm
Photographs: ctrl + N | productions

Chromatic Screen / Like Architects

© Dinis Sottomayor

Designed and constructed by Like Architects for the 2012 Oporto Show, the Chromatic Screen installation is an intervention representative of their ephemeral work that lies on the border between architecture, design, urban installation and art. The installation is designed using about 2,000 hangers for children’s clothes from IKEA – ‘Bagis’ -, in four different colors – blue, green, pink and orange – that merge into multiple tonalities. More images and architects’ description after the break.

House In Avintes / Gisela Silva Monteiro

© Marcos Oliveira

Architects: Gisela Silva Monteiro
Location: ,
Collaborators: Célia Magalhães, Cláudia Aragão, Eusébio Soares, Nuno Monteiro
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Marcos Oliveira

House in Azóia / Steven Evans + Ricardo Jacinto

© Daniel Malhão

Architects: +
Location: Sintra, Portugal
Structures: Miguel Villar, Sérgio Mártires – Betar
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Daniel Malhão

Urban Shelter / Gabriela Gomes

© João Morgado

Designed by , Shelter ByGG” brings out to public space a sculptural object that can be used as a living space. She proposes the creation of an habitable module, inviting you to rest inside a sculpture installed on a public space. Photographed by Joao Morgado, this project is an artistic manifestation that provides an innovative and unexpected experience as an accommodation space, associated with eco-­‐sustainable solutions and mobility. More images and architects’ description after the break.

House in Ovar / Paula Santos

© Nelson Garrido

Architects: Paula Santos Arquitectura
Location: Ovar Municipality,
Project Year: 2008
Photographs: Nelson Garrido