“Economy of Means” at MAAT within Lisbon Architecture Triennale ’19

Economy of Means suggests the challenge of using one mean for multiple ends, investigating what makes the category both a mark and a precondition of a rational architecture. It is a truth universally acknowledged that resources of all types, in all parts of the world, must be managed with greater consciousness and care as the twenty-first century waxes.


Albert Frey, Canvas Weekend House, Fort Salonga, Northport, Long Island, New York, 1933-4 Special Collections, Jonh D. Rockfeller Jr. Library, The Colonial Wiliamsburg Foundation


Architects explore the limits and definition of architecture itself by reducing the material, economic and conceptual means they resort to in a building project.Economy of Means is an aesthetic category as well as a tool of conception. It allows us to imagine and evaluate results. It is at the core of any relevant design, whatever the medium. In its usual meaning it consists in using as few means as possible to reach a specific goal. 


“Economy of Means”
4 October, 2019 – 13 January, 2020
MAAT Museum of Architecture, Art and Technology
Av. Brasília, Central Tejo 300-598 Lisboa


Beyond this, we link it to any attitude based upon a critical approach towards the means used to create something. Economy of means can concern process as well as results. It is an investigation of form in all its dimensions. Form is the horizon of any human activity pushed to a high level of accomplishment. Economy of means is the DNA of good forms. Architecture consists in defining the good form for a building. Using few and carefully surveyed means allow architects to provide meaning and intelligibility to their buildings.


OMA Rem Koolhaas, Très Grande Bibliothèque (TGB), plan, Paris, 1989. © Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Philibert Delorme, Illustration from Nouvelles Inventions pour bien bastir et à petits fraiz, 1561. Inprint by Fédéric Morel in Paris. ETH-Bibliothek Zurich


It is a multisensory exhibition, drawn on a large number of contemporary and historical examples, that explores the innovative ways in which architects and designers are guided toward more responsible, ethical, sustainable and ultimately beautiful solutions to local and global challenges, as well as intersections between architecture and other visual arts.


“Economy of Means, exhibition. T2019. Photograph by Fabio Cunha”

“Economy of Means, exhibition. T2019. Photograph by Fabio Cunha”


Participants: AAT+ Makoto Yokomizo, Abalos+Sentkiewicz, Adam Khan, Adolfo Scaranello, Aires Mateus, Álvaro Siza, Andre Branzi (Archizoom), André Tavares, Anna & Eugeni Bach, Atelier Kempe Thill, Atelier Provisoire, Barbas Lopes, Barrault Pressacco, Baukuh, Bearth & Deplazes, Brandlhuber +, BRUTHER, Burbouze & Graindorge, Carrilho Da Graça, Caruso St John Architects, Christ & Gantenbein, Christian Kerez, Conradin Clavuot, DATA, De Vylder Vunck Taillieu, Diogo Aguiar, Elisa Valero, Florian Beigel & Philip Christou, Frank Gehry, Gigon/Guyer, Gion Caminada, Go Hasegawa, Gonçalo Byrne, Harquitectes, Herzog & De Meuron, Jaume Bach + Gabriel Mora, Jean Nouvel, Johnston Mark Lee, Junya Ishigami, Kazuyo Sejima, Knapkiewicz & Fikert, l’AUC (Caroline Poulin Djamel Klouche François Decoster), Lacaton Vassal, LIST (Ido Avissar) Lütjens Padmanabhan, Marc Mimram, Miller & Maranta, Miroslav Šik, Monadnock, Norman Foster +Partners, Obvie, OFFICE KGDVS, Olivier Malclès, OMA Rem Koolhaas, Peter Märkli, Peter Zumthor, Pezo von Ellrichshausen, Piovenefabi, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Roger Diener, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners Rudi Ricciotti, SANAA, Sergison Bates, Seyler & Lucan, Silvia Gmür Reto Gmür Architekten, Studio Anne Holtrop, Studio Mumbai, Ted’A Arquitectes, Tony Fretton, Toyo Ito, Valerio Olgiati, Yellow Office


“Economy of Means, exhibition. T2019. Photograph by Fabio Cunha”

Artists: Albert Frey, Aldo Van Eyck, Alison and Peter Smithson, Alvar Aalto, Anatole de Baudot, Andrea Palaldio, Antonin Artaud, Asnago Vender, Auguste Perret, Bernard Rudofsky, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Carlo Mollino, Carlos Martí Arís, Charles Moore, Charlotte Perriand, Chris Marker, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux, Colin Rowe, Cornelius Meyer, Daly César, Donato Bramante, Élie Lotar, Ernst May, Felix Candela, Fernand Pouillon, Fernando Tavora, Filippo Brunelleschi, Francesco Borromini, Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Frank Lloyd Wright, Fred Koetler, Geoffrey Bawa, George Henri Pingusson, Georges Candilis, Giancarlo De Carlo, Gio Ponti, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Giuseppe Terragni, Gottfried Semper, Gunnar Asplund, Hannes Meyer, Hans Bernouilli, Henri Labrouste, Ignazio Gardella, Jacobus Johannes, James Stirling, Jean François Neufforge, Jean Prouvé, Jean-François Zevaco, Jean-Nicolas-Louis Durand, John Hejduk, John Soane, Johnatan Woolf, Josep Marìa Jujol, Joseph Paxton, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, Juliaan Lampens, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Kazuo Shinohara, Konstantin Melnikov, Le Corbusier, Lina Bo Bardi, Livio Vacchini, Lois Welzenbacher, Louis Kahn, Ludovico Quaroni, Marcel Breuer, Marcel Duchamp, Margarete Schütte-Lihotsky, Mario Ridolfi, Mart Stam, Mies van der Rohe, Moïsseï Ginzbourg, Oscar Niemeyer, Otto Rudolf Salvisberg, Philibert De l’Orme, Philip Johnson, Pier Luigi Nervi, Pierre Le Muet, Pieter Oud, Raymond Roussel, René Magritte, Robert Venturi, Rudolf Olgiati, Rudolf Schwarz, Sebastiano Serlio, Shadrach Woods, Sigurd Lewerentz, Stanley Tigerman, Viollet-le-Duc, Vitruvius, Vladimir Bodiansky, Walter Benjamin, Walter Gropius.


News source: MAAT Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia
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