First Collection from the Archive:
25 Years of Democracy and Portuguese Architecture 1974-1999
João Belo Rodeia, Graça Correia, Ricardo Carvalho
Among the most important projects underway in Casa da Arquitectura — Centro Português de Arquitectura (Portuguese Centre of Architecture) is the creation of its own repository of projects, documents and bibliography, aimed at protecting, safeguarding and promoting the archive collections of Portuguese architects and architecture, in particular those of the 20th (and 21st) century.
To that end — and without prejudice to acquisitions or donations of collections considered timely or relevant — it was decided to inaugurate the repository with an initial double collection from the period from 1974 to 1999, which is to say, a collection inserted in the first 25 years of Democracy in Portugal. This double collection will include roughly “200 reference projects”, and it will be accompanied by another collection of periodicals and catalogs of the same period, concerning architectural magazines and exhibition catalogs.
The reasons behind this decision relate directly with the period in question, still little regarded in Portugal (archivistically speaking). In spite of this lack of coverage, it is a very significant period because of the quantity, quality and notoriety of its transformative projects of the city and territory, derived from a new sociopolitical and cultural era in the country. In other words: the archive collection aims to establish a representative panorama of the Portuguese Architecture of the 25 years of Democracy between 1974 and 1999; a panorama that on one hand reflects the consequences of the change in political regime in Portuguese architectural production, and on the other hand the implication of this production in the construction and sedimentation of Democracy since 1974. “Reference projects” are broadly understood through the contact or relationship they maintain with these implications, as well as through their respective qualities or characteristics taken as models for the purposes of this panorama.
The proposal’s fundamental criteria stem from both the intrinsic merits and strictly architectural judgments of each project in addition to their disciplinary and public recognition, both critically and temporally. The authors (expected to number about 100) are also taken into account — their distribution within the national territory, between the mainland and the islands; the typological coverage between different programs in public and non-public architectural commissions; individual cases linked to important moments or events; the political and sociocultural times of the country, translated into three structuring cycles between 1974 and the early 1980s, between 1983 and the early 1990s, and between the early 1990s and the end of the decade; and a seminal set of projects prior to 1974, as well as a consequential set concerning projects post-1999.
This collection provides great opportunities for research, exhibition and exchange. This is due to its specialized and versatile nature, based on each project’s merit, on the joint value of the collection, and the opportunities it allows for distinctive approaches by different authors, geographies, typologies, chronology or others. It is also unprecedented as archival material since it encompasses a panoramic narrative of the first 25 years of Democracy in Portugal, combined with a collection of periodicals and catalogs (as well as later additions) which can be analyzed, interpreted and reflected on.
The proposal regarding this double collection is nearing completion.
BRAZILIAN ARCHITECTURE COLLECTION
Guilherme Winisk, Fernando Serapião
Casa da Arquitectura – Centro Português de Arquitectura (Portuguese Centre of Architecture) is preparing the ‘Brazilian Architecture Collection’ with the aim of expanding and diversifying its holdings — an initiative that has never been carried out, not even in Brazil. The collection will feature a group of original models and designs of selected projects that will make up a significant panorama of modern and contemporary production in Brazilian architecture. Among the various purposes of the collection, two are immediately relevant: first, by allowing its collection to be accessed by researchers, it will assist with studies by specialists in the subject; second, the collection will prepare the ground for future exhibitions of Casa da Arquitectura’s holdings, in Matosinhos or in other places.
The series in question will be made up of 70 projects by authors that are fundamental for understanding Brazilian’s architectural output, of which 20 projects belong to the modern period while 50 others are part of the contemporary period. In addition to the designs and models, the collection will also have an auxiliary branch consisting of a library with 100 essential books on the theme, which will be incorporated into the library of the Casa da Arquitectura.
The general listing of projects is under development. The modern period (between the 1930s and the 1970s) includes projects by established authors from various generations and various parts of Brazil. We could mention as examples Lucio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer, Affonso Eduardo Reidy, MMM Roberto, Sergio Bernardes, Roberto Burle Marx, Vilanova Artigas, Lina Bo Bardi, Rino Levi, Severiano Mario Porto, João Filgueiras Lima (Lelé) and Paulo Mendes da Rocha. Most of these authors’ original designs are part of public and private collections (colleges, foundations and institutes), to whom the commissioners will, on behalf of Casa da Arquitectura, propose an agreement in order for Matosinhos to accommodate a collection of the complete copies of each selected project.
Most of the collection will be dedicated to the contemporary phase, which covers the period from the 1980s to the present day. This part of the collection will showcase creations of younger generations of professionals whose activity is in full swing — authors like Marcos Acayaba, Brasil Arquitetura, Angelo Bucci, Andrade Morettin and Carla Juaçaba.
In the case of books, the idea is to assemble a basic library of Brazilian architecture comprising catalog works and out of print volumes. In the latter case, made up of authors and publishers which are now gone, the commissioners’ mission will be to look for the volumes in establishments that sell out of print and rare works.