CARRILHO DA GRAÇA: LISBON
Belém Cultural Centre, Lisbon, Portugal (22 September 2015 – 14 February 2016)
Leopoldo Rother Museo de Arquitectura, Bogota, Colombia (06 October 2016 - 10 December 2016)
Museu da Casa Brasileira, São Paulo, Brasil (01 February 2017 – 19 March 2017)
Museu Marítim de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain (28 February 2017 – 1 May 2017)
Centro de Exposiciones Subte de Montevideo and Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Urbanismo de la Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay (30 June 2017 – 06 August 2017)
Bienal Internacional de Arquitectura de Buenos Aires / La Usina del Arte, Buenos Aires, Argentina (07 October 2017 – 20 October 2017)
Centro Cultural de Patrimônio Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (14 March 2018 - 20 May 2018)
This is not an exhibition exclusively about João Luís Carrilho da Graça or his work, nor is it even about his designs. Despite being anthological in nature, the exhibition is above all a manifestation of way of looking that Carrilho da Graça exemplified, something that has been present since the start of his career. This gaze is illustrated here using the city of Lisbon, with which he has worked for over 30 years.
The materials presented in this retrospective enable us to draw closer to a theory of territory, expressed in a ground plan and model of Lisbon, and reiterated by the models of the individual projects. This theory olds that the mainlines and points that characterise the topography underpin human routes and settlements, and therefore the construction of the city and its architecture.
In an article from 2002 (“Metamorphosis”), Carrilho da Graça explains how the routes most used by mankind in prehistoric times would have followed the highest points between valleys, the ridge lines of the geological folds. There were two reasons for this: ease of travelling (the level is more or less constant and the routes are not crossed by rivers or streams) and safety (these high points commanded a full view over the dividing valleys). Promontories are protected by their topography, with a single access route which is easily controlled, and offer broad views over the surrounding terrain. Hence, they have always been the site of various kinds of settlements, ranging from camps and houses to convents, castles and the city itself. At a later period, given the practical need to join different promontories together, routes would have sprung up half way down the slope, uniting the secondary system of ridge lines and duplicating the routes crossing the main hilltops. Later still, there would also have been other paths running along the valleys, parallel to or crossing rivers and streams, and connecting the key points mentioned above. All together, these extensive trails traced through the territory are at the origin of both public space (as they correspond precisely to the routes taken by people) and private space (as between them lay grounds that were successively privatized). The city of Lisbon is an extraordinary example of this: the promontories host unique buildings, and the ridges are where one might find the earliest displacement routes. The paths are halfway up the slopes and in the valleys a network of routes can be found, tracing the first boundaries for territorial compartmentalisation.
Using this form of analysis, Carrilho da Graça sought to reveal a realm of the constant “that receives our existence and is marked by it”. He imagines that “the territory possesses its own structure that constitutes the initial life support system for man on this planet” and that “on this territory, which also had other types of nature, such as its own wild nature, we gradually built, little by little”. For Carrilho da Graça, this method of investigating territory is not restricted to a passive or merely analytical perspective, understood as an end in itself. Above all, it forms part of a methodology for design and action, enabling a synthesis to be achieved of the existing landscape, in which the elementary is separated from the accessory. The strategy takes account of the historical thickness of the territory but also asserts a compatibility between research and practice.
The proposal that architectural design ultimately depends on territorial analysis underpins the whole of Carrilho da Graça’s oeuvre, and architecture becomes what might best be described as a territorial vocation. The selection of works presented in this exhibition thus corresponds to a catalogue raisonné of the works of Carrilho da Graça for the city of Lisbon – not a complete and definitive compilation, but rather those projects considered to be significant in this context. In addition to the many built projects, the exhibition also includes work that was never actually built, as well as alternative versions of projects that were – with the same creative freedom that Palladio enjoyed when he included his first villas, reviewed, in I quattro libri dell'architettura. Some of the projects shown have been widely published, such as the College of Communication and Media Studies (1987-1993) and the Lisbon Cruise Terminal (2010-...), but others have scarcely been divulgated till now, such as the plan created under the aegis of the VALIS Programme (1991) or projects for competitions which, despite being awarded first place, were never actually built, such as the Extension for the Portuguese Parliament (1992).
This exhibition does not present these projects in full detail, but rather offers the necessary clues for them to be considered in the light of this theory of territory, of this auxiliary process which, may or may not be evident at the end, but which was always profoundly present at the origin. This exhibition is concerned, ultimately, with João Luís Carrilho da Graça’s tradition, in the purest etymological sense of the term: with what it delivers and with the legacy it offers.
Marta Sequeira and Susana Rato, curators
(This text is an adaptation of the text on the leaflet for the exhibition Carrilho da Graça : Lisbon, presented in the South Garage gallery - Architecture Exhibition of the Belém Cultural Centre from 22nd September 2015 to 14th February 2016)
João Luís Carrilho da Graça (Portalegre, 1952) received a degree in architecture from the Lisbon School of Fine Arts in 1977, the year he began his professional activity.
He was nominated and/or selected for the Mies van der Rohe European Prize in Architecture (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015), and has received a number of awards. These include: the Secil Prize for Architecture (1994) awarded for the College of Communication and Media Studies; the Valmor Prize (1998) and the FAD Prize (1999) for the Knowledge of the Seas Pavilion; the Valmor Prize (2008) for the Lisbon School of Music; the Piranesi Prix de Rome (2010) for the musealization of the Praça Nova archaeological site of St. George’s Castle; the Frate-Sole European Prize for Sacred Architecture (2012) for the Church of Santo António in Portalegre; and the AIT Award 2012 – Transportation (2012) the Carpinteira Pedestrian Bridge. He has also won various awards for his entire oeuvre, such as: International Art Critics’ Award (1992), Order of Merit of the Portuguese Republic (1999), Pessoa Prize (2008), Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Republic (2010), the Medal of the Académie d’Architecture of France (2012) and the RIBA International Fellowship (2015).
As far as his teaching career is concerned, he was Assistant Lecturer at the Lisbon School of Fine Arts (1977-1992), later becoming Full Professor at the Autonomous University of Lisbon (2001-2010) and University of Évora (2005-2013). He coordinated the departments of Architecture in both institutions until 2010, and was responsible for the creation of the Doctorate in Architecture at the latter institution, which he also directed (2011-2013). He was Visiting Professor at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de la Universidad de Navarra (2005, 2007, 2010 and 2014) and at the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning of Cornell University, in New York (2015). Since 2014, he has been Full Professor at the School of Architecture, University of Lisbon. He has also been invited to seminars and conferences in various international universities and institutions.
In 2013, he received an Honorary Doctorate degree from the School of Architecture, University of Lisbon.
Marta Sequeira and Susana Rato
João Luís Carrilho da Graça, Susana Rato and Marta Sequeira
João Cruz, Filipe Louraço and Fábio Azevedo
Paulo Barreto (coordination), Filipe Louraço, Margarida Belo, Cristina Reis, Vincenzo Buongiorno, João Centeno, João Aragão, Pedro Quendera, António Carrilho da Graça, João Cruz, Diana Ledo, Teresa Hagatong, Mariana Bacelar e Mariana Salvador
Atelier Pedro Falcão
Daniel Duarte Pereira
Delfim Sardo, Inês Lobo, João Favila, João Trindade, João Gomes da Silva, José Aguiar, Julião Sarmento, Pedro Domingos, Francisco Freire, Victor Beiramar Diniz, Filipe Homem, Luís Cordeiro and Paula Miranda
And to the collaborators who worked on the twelve exhibited projects
Anne Demoustier, Carlos Pereira, Charbel Saad, Diana Ledo, Fábio Azevedo, Filipe Homem, Filipe Louraço, Flavio Barbini, Francisco Freire, Frederique Petit, Giulia de Appolonia, Helena Lopes, Gonçalo Baptista, Inês Cortesão, Inês Lobo, Isac Coimbra, Joana Malitzki, João Jesus, José Pedro Bonito, João Manuel Alves, João Rosário, João Trindade, José Maria Assis, Julieta Cunha, Luís Barros, Luís Cordeiro, Luís Gonçalves, Maria João Barbini, Maria João Silva, Mariana Salvador, Miguel Casal Ribeiro, Miguel Costa, Mónica Margarido, Monica Ravazzolo, Nadir Bonaccorso, Nuno Castro Caldas, Nuno Matos, Nuno Pinho, Nuno Pinto, Nuno Ravara, Paula Miranda, Pauline Chauvet, Paulo Barreto, Paulo Costa, Pedro Abreu Pereira, Pedro Domingos, Pedro Gadanho, Pedro Ricciardi, Pedro Teixeira de Melo, Simão Botelho, Susana Rato, Tanya Zein, Telmo Cruz, Teresa Hagatong, Tiago Castela, Vanda Neto, Vasco Melo, Victor Beiramar Diniz, Yutaka Shiki