FAUP will host the third version of an exhibition initially designed for a site-specific format on the island of Giudecca, in Venice; afterwards, it was displayed at CCB’s Garagem Sul, in Lisbon, and now emerges as a moment of assessment after three years of work around this project. In Porto, the contents presented will highlight the research process that resulted in the exhibition and its relevance – the trips with Álvaro Siza, the cities and the neighbourhoods’ residents.
“Neighbourhood: where Alvaro meets Aldo”
19 June – 17 September, 2018
Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto
Via Panorâmica Edgar Cardoso 215, 4150-564, Porto
As it happened in Venice, once again this exhibition takes place in a building designed by Álvaro Siza, the Faculty of Architecture (FAUP). It establishes a dialogue between the essentialist and stripped architecture of the Portuguese architect and the scenographic and chromatic ideology of the Italian architect Aldo Rossi, with whom the exhibition seeks a cultural relationship: where Alvaro meets Aldo.
This exhibition aims to expose a broad public to the work of Siza and Rossi, as well as their “neighbourhoods”, at a University and Faculty which reflect on citizenship and practise the design of the city. It is not by chance that these architects have made “the architecture of the city” a focal point of their careers.
At the outset of the Portuguese representation at the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale 2016, promoted by the Ministry of Culture / Directorate-General for the Arts, the goal was to meet the challenge launched by this Biennale’s general curator, Alejandro Aravena – Reporting from the Front – by proposing a site-specific pavilion built on an urban front in full physical and social regeneration, within the city of Venice, more specifically the island of Giudecca. In fact, the idea of installing the Portuguese pavilion in situ triggered the completion of the Campo di Marte urban renewal, designed by Álvaro Siza 30 years ago. The expected date to conclude the work, which will benefit the Giudecca residents, is the end of 2018.
In contrast to what happened in the other countries pavilions, located in the Venice Biennale’s Giardini and Arsenale, where architecture is a generic support for a new exhibition display each year, this temporary pavilion with its “whistleblower” presence and unique exhibition display stirred the political decision to finish the project, interrupted in 2010 due to the builder’s bankruptcy.
According to the curators: “the conclusion of this work by the Italian authorities, which will be followed by the houses assignment to the Campo di Marte inhabitants, is the most rewarding result of this adventure that we have shared with Álvaro Siza”.
The official Portuguese representation chose as its main theme Siza’s remarkable work in the field of social housing, encompassing his projects in different cities – Campo di Marte (Venice); Schlesisches Tor (Berlin); Schilderswijk (The Hague); and Bairro da Bouça (Porto) – and showing his experience in social participation, as a reflection of a democratic understanding of the city and the European citizenship. These different projects have developed into genuine places of neighbourhood, a central theme in the current European political agenda for a more inclusive and multicultural society.
Siza has worked with these concepts in close proximity to, among others, the Italian architectural culture and, in particular, to the conceptual and ideological legacy of Aldo Rossi, whose relevant essay The Architecture of the City celebrated 50 years in 2016. In this sense, the exhibition highlighted this stimulating reunion between Álvaro and Aldo; two metaphorical names, which may also represent the neighbours who pass by each other, every day, in every corner of Siza’s neighbourhoods.
At the beginning of 2016, a few months before the opening of the Venice Biennale, the curators invited Álvaro Siza to return to the four social neighbourhoods which are the focus of this exhibition. In Porto, Venice, The Hague and Berlin, Siza visited and met different residents, old and new neighbours, noticed their environments’ evolution but also the main social and urban transformations that occurred there and are today shared by many other European cities: immigration, ghettoisation, gentrification and touristification.
These visits and these neighbours were portrayed in images captured on different ways and shown outside and inside the Portuguese Pavilion. These are real documents of everyday life, only possible thanks to the residents’ goodwill. These visual documents were produced by a qualified multidisciplinary team consisting of Cândida Pinto and Rodrigo Lobo (exhibition videos, SIC Channel), Jordi Burch and Nicolò Galeazzi (exhibition photographs). Numerous other architectural documents were provided by the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) and the Drawing Matter Archive, in England, as institutional partners; and also the contribution of ATER Venezia, IUAV, Municipalità di Venezia – Murano – Burano, UNESCO Venezia, Camões, I.P., the Portuguese Embassy in Italy, and the Portuguese Architects’ Association, all of them essential for this project’s success.
The exhibition is also accompanied by a catalogue, already available in bookstores, which brings together significant and comprehensive texts about the work of Álvaro Siza and the places where it is inserted, written by the following authors: Mirko Zardini, Alberto Ferlenga, Andrea Barina, Adri Duivesteijn, Brigitte Fleck, Alexandre Alves Costa and Vittorio Gregotti.
The exhibition Neighbourhood: Where Alvaro meets Aldo will be on display, from 19 June to 17 September, 2018, at the FAUP Exhibition Gallery, from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7pm. Free admission.