Architecture from the couch: tips from Cristina Silva

We continue our series “Architecture from the couch”. After Bo Christiansen in Copenhagen/Malmö, Anneke Bokern in Amsterdam/Rotterdam, Boris Strzelczyk in Valencia and Bettina Johae in New York, we are moving on to Portugal.

Fifth, our Guiding Architects partner Cristina Silva from Cultour in Porto and Lisbon reports.

The majority of us are currently sitting in our home offices and thus have no opportunity to explore the world. So we thought we bring the world to you. For this purpose we have asked our partners from Guiding Architects a few questions about the current situation.

Read their answers here and get a few tips on how the situation is dealt with in other countries and what you can see from home.

Architecture from the couch: tips from Cristina Silva

1. what is the situation like in your city?
Concerning our business, it has stopped completely. We still have some planned tours for June, but I don’t believe that they will take place and some other ones for fall. New requests aren’t coming in our email box anymore.
Concerning the country, almost everything is closed (schools, museums, non-essential businesses – restaurants are allowed to serve take-away) and people who are not obliged to work outside are asked to stay at home, unless they need to buy essentials/ go to the pharmacy, to doctor/ to exercise outside during some minutes.

Architecture from the Couch: Tips from our Guiding Architect Partners

Cristina Silva © cultour

2. how do you look into the future?
We expect the future to be brighter than the present, as we have this wishful thinking that people’s wanderlust will remain and may even increase after being locked up in their own homes. On the other hand, we are afraid that the traveling fear will continue for some months after the pandemic stops (and we don’t know if there will be a second outbreak in the fall) in addition to an increasing ecological awareness related with (plane) traveling that was already existing and may have raised during this crisis.

Architecture from the couch: tips from Cristina Silva

3. What could be viewed digitally in your city (museum, gallery, archive)?
Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon offers a virtual visit.

As well Casa da Arquitectura in Porto, including a visit to the exhibition on Souto de Moura that ‘is’ now on display.

Architecture from the Couch: Tips from our Guiding Architect Partners

Casa das Histórias Paula Rego © a-tour

4. name a positive initiative from your city, which has been created due to the current situation?
I think that the city governments are very busy dealing with the crisis and adapting their own services to these changes Like Zeynep (Istanbul) said, here there are also solidarity chains between neighboors more or less formal.

An initiative in Porto that involves architecture, more specifically balconies: The Festival Varandas® (Balconies Festival). It is a multidisciplinary event crossing theatre, music, poetry, new circus and presenting performances that turn balconies into stages. In these pandemic times our challenge for 29 March was to make your balcony your stage, and your neighbourhood your audience, creating a version of the festival in which Balconies are not only the stage, but the audience, as well. Here Instagram: festivalvarandas

5. give us 1 tip for an architecture book and/or a documentary on architecture and/or movie and/or podcast that you have enjoyed recently?                                                                         

There’s this movie called Columbus, by the Korean Kogonada (2017). Its plot takes place in Columbus, Indiana, USA, which is a small city of only 46,000 people, where some of the world’s most notable architects can be found and some of their very best work, like Eliel Saarinen, Eero Saarinen, Kevin Roche, I.M. Pei,among others.

Talking about Portuguese architecture and Portuguese architects we suggest the following movies:
– this documentary about Souto de Moura directed by Thom Andersen called Reconversion (2012) about 17 projects and buildings.

Having A Cigarette with Álvaro Siza, by Iain Dilthey (2016) narrated by Siza Vieira himself

Availabe on internet:
About 11 minutes talk with Álvaro Siza recorded in Porto, on youtube (2019?)

On September 25, 2015, the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Architecture, presented Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall. Available here.
Among many others that we could name.

We also must refer both catalogues edited this year of 2020:

One of the exhibition on a selection of the work of Souto de Moura up until now that is on display at Casa da Arquitectura, Matosinhos (the one we mentioned above, but it’s closed now of course): „Souto de Moura“, Yale University Press, 2020, ISBN: 9780300248654.

Another one of the exhibition on 30 projects by Siza that surveys Siza’s design proccess called Álvaro Siza Indiscipline, edited by Walther König; 2020, ISBN:978-9727393718