During our stay in Lisbon we enountered occasionally and for several reasons Portuguese architects representing a new and diverse generation. They, to say the least, explore a wide range of spatial interventions, in the world and on the web. An introduction to the work of EMBAIXADA Arquitectura, Weltraum Architekten, Os Espacialistas, ateliermob, Sami Arquitectos and Pedro Gadanho.
On April 18 we attended the final lecture of the Caldas Welcome-program, set-up to debate the future and redevelopment of the city of Caldas. Lisbon-based architects EMBAIXADA Arquitectura and Simon Troufa Real – with whom we undertook the May 1 Lisnave-expedition [part I + part II] – held presentations.
Os Espacialistas [could be translated as The Spatialites] had presented during an earlier meeting in Caldas. They are described as an active group of space performers [within architecture and urban design], whose main task is the artistic creation of shape processes from already existing space situations.
Their impressive 51-pages portfolio shows a wide range of deranged architectural interventions, ephemeral spatial interactions, weird explorations on the border between man and architecture and in-situ material transformations. All is documented by photography and video, which they see as devices to draw, think, perceive and analyse both the natural and the constructed space. Recently Os Espacialistas exhibited at the Paulo Amaro Gallery in Lisbon. The Os Espacialistas
-press release [no longer available! previously at saatchigallery.com/Galeria Paulo Amaro] [no longer online! see weareprivate-post] is one of the few writings in English about this group of space-jackers. Unfortunately this text suffers from an intensely unnecessary crypto-artistic way of writing, doing unjustice to the work itself:
Art and Architecture become obvious instruments of perception, capable of making the plasticity of a certain interventional location, in connection with another, appear both natural and constructed through the constant creation of new processes of shaping, exercising, intensification, awareness, vitality and energetic fiction of the tangible substances found there.
Along the road we also met up with the Portuguese specialists of fake architectural news, Weltraum Architekten, and of the real architectural news, ateliermob. In January 2006 the architecture office ateliermob launched its bilingual English-Portuguese website/blog and soon realized they tapped into the communication vacuum surrounding their generation of young Portugueze architects. Today their site acts as a new platform for showing the office’s daily practice and methodology as well as to promote other interesting offices or Portuguese teams awarded internationally and parallel activities to architecture. ateliermob was distinguished in 2007 with the the Best Portuguese Blog in the category of Corporate. Recent posts include a comment on the absurdity of the selected six “young” Portuguese architects at a recent RIBA-exhibit [with a link to 6 upcoming Portuguese architecture offices], an overview of proposals for roundabouts for the city of Tomar and their proposal for Parque Mayer [in Lisbon].
Although we didn’t meet them this time, Setúbal-based architects Sami Arquitectos and Lisbon based blog Shrapnel Contemporary are, besides all aforementioned, the ones to watch/bookmark. Recently Sami Arquitectos were part of the “Architecture: Portugal outside Portugal“-exhibition at the “AEDES Pfefferberg” Architecture Gallery in Berlin and won the “Prémio Nacional Tektónica/OA’09“-award for their “Gruta das Torres Visitors’ Center“-project. MovingCities wrote about their ORDOS100-proposal for Perspective Plus.
Shrapnel Contemporary is an intelligent and active blog curated by the architect, curator and writer Pedro Gadanho. More regular than occasional Shrapnel states to take the place of the literary notion of the fragment by releasing splinters on architecture, culture and contemporary urban practice. Recent posts include musings on three architecture magazines that caught his attention, and the announcement of Beyond, a new and promising book series “dedicated to new, experimental forms of architectural and urban writing” of which Pedro Gadanho is Editor-in-Chief.