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The Deck

April 04-09, 2019, Universidade de Lisboa (ULISBOA) - FAUL, Lisbon, Portugal

Locus: Conceptualization/Anchoring

“By architecture of the city we mean two different things: first, the city seen as a gigantic man-made object, a work of engineering and architecture that is large and complex and growing over time; second, certain more limited but crucial aspects of the city, namely urban artefacts, which like the city itself are characterized by their own history and thus by their own form. In both cases architecture clearly represents only one aspect of a more complex reality, of a larger structure; but at the same time, as the ultimate verifiable fact of this reality […]”

ROSSI, Aldo, the Architecture of the City, 1982, Opposition Books, MA: MIT Press.


Since immemorial times the territory we today call Lisbon region has been a preferred place for human settlements and activities. An almost unique assemblage of tectonic and natural features enhances a balanced relation of smooth hills and valleys providing a diverse, warmth and lightly assemblage of places correlated between them towards the beautiful and unmistakable Tejo river estuary.

This totality has been the ground for a long passage, permanence and succession of cultures, leaving a densely layered memory throughout its territory. From buildings till artefacts, the roots of its far away origins are still present all over the city, enhancing a coherent and deep sense of belonginess that emerges naturally here and there in a now somehow dense and intricate urban structure.

A sloped telluric structure and the immense river estuary are in the Lisbon case intrinsic, being always present as a judiciously assembled entity. This unique sense of beautiful coherent, mineral and liquid intertwined identity emerges when grasping the myriad of possible paths to discover or travel through the city. As any living city, Lisbon continues to change and evolve, trying to reinvent itself accordingly with the aims of its inhabitants in a search for its [new/present] coherence. Again, and again its indissociably hills, valleys and water bed are (re)interpreted, providing a strong sense of belonging to this continuous path.

The MATERIART Lisbon Workshop will focus in one of the possible pathways existent in the intricated fabric of the City, searching for opportunities to intervene and add some new steps aiming to belong in this already long path that marks the human settlement in this territory since so long ago.

Concepts concerning new views towards locus will emerge from the Studio proposals concerning the relations between context and architecture, trough strategies as anchoring, explain and map new correlations between contemporary user aims and the unique identity of Lisbon.

In an astonishing way, a public transport, the traditional and exquisite nº 28 tramway, travels across the inner core of the Lisbon historic centre from east to west trough a path that accurately reads its sloppy topography. Crossing patiently an intricate fabric poised upon the hills and valleys the 28 travels trough the history of the city connecting its anchored memories through its patient and slow path. The output of each studio will be to meditate and propose actions to one of the ten locations proposed along the path travelled by the 28 tramway.

The workshop theme deck will focus on the interface that fuses the professional stance/understanding and educational/professional practice, merging various figures as colleagues, team, client, contractors, students, instructors, teaching assistants, rowing critiques, jury members, part-time instructors, other practising architects, so on so forth. Strategies arising from flitting, hanging, changing and transforming will use the city as a deck, a medium, where memory and perspective will merge towards new meanings added to a till now balanced story of co-evolution and co-existence of numerous urban and sub-urban artefacts.

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