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The first phase is devoted to setting up the project’s conceptual, practical and institutional framework.
Preliminary Research corresponds to the first part of the survey that will be dedicated to the gathering and systematisation of information related to the Portugal Pavilion and the above-mentioned cases - Leça da Palmeira Waterfront, Atlantic Park in Vila do Conde, the Municipal Library in Viana do Castelo, Museum Nadir Afonso in Chaves - and a first review of the related bibliography on the processes of Álvaro Siza’s work practice and a contextual overview.
The selection process of research fellows will be undertaken during this period, as well as all the contacts with the agents, consultant entities, and institutions involved in the research.
A general meeting will be held with the entire research team. This discussion will provide a conceptual and methodological framework for the collection and sharing of information and reflection between team partners.
For this phase, its main sources will be the municipal archives of Lisbon, Vila do Conde, Matosinhos, Viana do Castelo and Chaves. Also, the Directorate of Cultural Heritage archives will also be consulted.
This task will set up an analytic approach to the selected works of Álvaro Siza - Atlantic Park in Vila do Conde; Leça da Palmeira Waterfront in Matosinhos; Municipal Library in Viana do Castelo; and Nadir Afonso Contemporary Art Museum in Chaves, including the Portugal Pavilion (classified as a Monument of Public Interest) as a central part of the urban renovation of the east Lisbon’s 4 km riverside. The recent renovation and adaptive reuse project of the Portugal Pavilion (Council of Ministers Resolution n.º 65/2018) under development by Siza himself, commissioned by the University of Lisbon, will also be subject to analysis.
Each project will be broken down according to:
(a) its programme and configuration (building and public space).
(b) the commission demands and restrictions and how they were addressed by Álvaro Siza;
(c) technological solutions and materials as an extension of Álvaro Siza’s architecture practice.
(d) the distribution of spaces, scales and uses.
(e) the integration of the projects within their urban context (visual axes, accessibilities and connections with the surrounding urban fabric and other relevant aspects).
(f) the significance of project to the overall urban redevelopment strategy.
This phased task will be mainly based on sources from institutional archives (central or municipal) involving the study of relevant plans and territorial strategies, the project’s drawings and textual documents and other contextual data. Additional bibliographies will also be considered. An in-depth interview will be carried out with Álvaro Siza focused on his work’s development. The interview will be part of the research’s final publication.
With this analytical approach it is expected to be able to achieve an overview of the different case studies in relation to the processes, plans and strategies of urban transformation set in motion by Expo98 and after by the Polis programme. This focus is relevant considering the redevelopment actions were expected to establish reference works at a municipal and national level, at some level addressing urban frailties and the expectations of commissioners. Based on this task, it is intended to decode the architect’s creative process in parallel with an overview of each work within an urban context, constituting a solid ground to reach new conclusions that can be subject to a debate on Álvaro Siza’s ‘critical monumentality’.
For this task, the main sources will be critical observations of Álvaro Siza’s built works and their engagement with users.
The aim of this phase is to understand how the selected architectural and public space works are utilised and experienced in everyday life. This task will have an interpretive and analytical nature, focusing on the study of the day-to-day functioning of the built works.
Each work will be the subject to a post-occupation analysis including:
(a) its usages and activities.
(b) the works’ aesthetics and iconic visuality.
(c) aspects of comfort and appropriation.
(d) the current spatial usage, adaptability features and its interaction with new interventions,
(e) in the case of the Portugal Pavilion, a detailed analysis on the building’s current configuration and usages will be combined with an analysis of the transformations prompted by the adaptation project in progress.
This task will be mainly based on the works themselves, through fieldwork and testable research on the users’ experiences, including observations of the building or public space.
The design use and operating conditions (within different timeframes), spatial monitoring and questionnaires and / or interviews with users.
As a result of these observations, there will be produced: (1) visual and technical material using tools such as Space Syntax and/or local surveys, representing the readability of the spaces and the evaluation of the usage by the user; (2) photographic records as an illustrative tool for usage patterns and user experience of the space.
Based on this study, it will be possible to explore the relationships produced by urban interventions and buildings with the specific contexts in which they operate, to better understand how the projects of Álvaro Siza are appropriated by their users and by the city, analysing the social impact upon the general population and how the work itself is experienced from a user’s point of view.
For this phase, the main sources will be the Canadian Center of Architecture archives, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation archives and the assets that currently exist in the Álvaro Siza studio.
This phase aims at establishing relationships and associations between the selected works of Álvaro Siza, namely that of the Portugal Pavilion with his existing practice and other relevant architectural project designs and languages.
In these comparative studies, the research and identification of ideas, themes, and ways of designing buildings and urban spaces resulting from the experience of the 1998 Lisbon World Exhibition is the final goal. In particular, connections will be sought with similar designs for other major events, as is the case of Meteorology Centre in Barcelona (1992) designed for the Olympic Games, and the Hannover Pavilion projected for the 2000 World Exposition, and actually rebuilt in Coimbra, in central Portugal, in the course of the Polis programme for that city.
This phased task will focus on the identification of the architectural references influencing the selected works and the correlation between the architect’s past and present projects. It is also intended to find out if these architecture projects have served as a reference for other architects and have had an impact on the history of architecture in Portugal and beyond. The work will be structured as an analogical atlas, inspired by Warburg’s Mnemosyne, bringing together images from Siza’s own practice and seeking affinities with other less expected reference points. A summary of the atlas’ hypotheses will be part of the research’s final publication.
This phase will mainly be based on Álvaro Siza Vieira’s archive at the CCA (Leça da Palmeira Tea house, Ocean swimming pool, Leça and Boa Nova coastal development plan, and Viana do Castelo Public Library) and FCG (Portugal Pavilion), currently housed in his architecture studio, for the study of drawings and textual documents. Additional research on references from previous interviews and bibliography will be collected.
Through the relationships established, the intention is to dissect and to reconstruct the architect’s design process, identifying the phases of Siza’s practice and to understand its development in the way of making architecture.
For this phase, the main source material will be the Riverfront General Plan for Lisbon.
This task aims at comparing key developments in the fields of urbanism and architecture, following the major events of the late 20thcentury in Europe, more precisely Lisbon after Expo98; Barcelona and Seville, respectively after the Olympics and the World Exposition, both in 1992; and Hanover after the 2000 World Exposition.
Studies will be carried out, in the course of this phase to answer questions such as: i. How the design culture and the face of these cities have changed; ii. The way that these major events have been given as arguments for further urban development and expansion, after they took place; iii. How these major events have contributed towards the improvement of the population’s living conditions and the urban competitiveness of cities; iv. How these major events have established the grounds for economic and urban development in the current moment, v. How the model for the great world events has recently been used as a justification for urban development policies in Europe, namely in cases such as Zaragoza 2008, or Milan 2015.