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 “Recessionary Interviews,” 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…
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 (Portugal), 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.
The Recession’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 Portugal’s acclaimed architects, after the break…
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 Trafaria in Portugal, into a civic space that promotes coastal preservation.
Continue after the break for more.
Architects: ARQX Architects
Location: Oporto, Portugal
Design Team: Miguel Meirinhos, Pedro da Graça Lopes
Project Year: 2011
Photographs: Courtesy of ARQX Architects