The summer school is inserted in a larger project, selected as an associated project of the 2019 Lisbon Architecture Triennial. This project deals with the questions of how to approach the constant need for updating our cities while keeping their identity and how to engage the local population in this process in an active manner. It does so in two moments: in a first, by suggesting Architecture to borrow the process of Revisiting from the field of Music and applying it onto the Alvalade neighbourhood. In a second moment, by confronting the local population with the results of this exercise through an exhibition, a symposium, movie screenings and concerts.
The departing questions for this project are how could architecture contribute to the development of a critical position towards the future of one of the most successful neighbourhoods in Lisbon, now that the city around it is changing at a fast pace? How could Alvalade build upon its existing structures in order to offer relevant answers to the demands of a present underpinned by problematics -environment, fluctuating density, cultural capital, food production and consumption- which have greatly mutated since the time it was planned while keeping its identity? And how could the potential answers to these questions trigger the questioning of their reality by the inhabitants of the neighborhood?
To address these questions, we propose two moments: a summer school for architecture students and a week of curated events in Alvalade.
In 2006, Virgin Records released the album Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited. In it, a number of artists were invited to appropriate a number of songs by Serge Gainsbourg, not covering them but rather recomposing them and building up again into something new that could nevertheless still be read as the original. In the subtlety of the differences between the original score and the revisited one, lies a world of new moments and possible interpretations. Revisiting implies the creation of a new piece sampling solely from the original score. It implies a deep comprehension of the original score through its decomposition into elements, their cataloguing and critical analysis. These elements are then rearranged in an innovative way, giving rise to previously nonexistent relations and opening doors to further understandings of the original piece.
The architectural translation of revisiting, in this specific context, will invite the students to approach the neighborhood with a proactive historical interest, identifying urban situations, buildings, details with an invested interest on their current meaning and their potential use in the construction of an altered Alvalade, one able to address the topics of density, mobility and consumption in a responsible way. It will simultaneously remove the students from the role of author, repositioning them as actors in the design process. The results of the student’s work should showcase a revisited neighbourhood through the lenses of the now, based on the current local/global context and by the foreseeable expectations it -and Lisbon- will be confronted with.
The one week workshop will consist of an intensive course on the methodology, a day of conferences by architects who work with similar processes (Made In, Sam Jacob, José Neves and Paulo Tormenta Pinto) and musicians, four days of development of the proposals with the workshop leaders (Francisco Moura Veiga, Dominik Arni and Girão Lima Arquitectos), and a final day with critiques by guest architects (Thomas Padmanaban, Thomas Paturet from Atlas of Places) and local politicians.
SERIES OF EVENTS DURING THE TRIENNALE
The series of curated events will take place in several venues in Alvalade during October and it will bring the content produced by the students in direct contact with the population, through a small exhibition, a symposium with key, local stakeholders, movie screenings and concerts.
All events will take place in venues within the Alvalade neighborhood, making use of the local institutions (both private and public) in order to widen the range of the content produced in the workshop to its maximum. The exhibition will serve as central point to the remainder events which will orbit around it and always relate to it. The symposium will bring local politicians, representatives of the commerce association, inhabitants association and cultural institutions together to engage with the Revisited Alvalade and discuss the present and future of the neighborhood together with the audience. A short series of movies related to the processes and outcomes of the summer school will be projected onto buildings, under them, in them, suggesting a common, temporary permanence in public, semi-public and private spaces. Concerts by local bands will pop-up in unexpected corners of the neighborhood.
With these two complementary moments, we hope to be able to present a number of proposals which reposition Alvalade within the current context in a unimpeded way and to trigger the inhabitants of the neighborhood to revisit their realities in an engaging manner, questioning it, acting upon it, gaining a more informed appreciation of what is there and of what could become of it.
Taking part in the summer school would not only allow students to reflect on these questions and profit from the teachings from the guest lecturers and critics, but also having their work featured in the Lisbon Architecture Triennial and confronted with the local population in a very open and constructive manner.