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ARCHITECTURE IN THEORY AND HISTORY

EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA LEARNING FROM HISTORY DESIGNING INTO HISTORY

Barbara Bogoni


ARCHITECTURE IN THEORY AND HISTORY

Barbara Bogoni


EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA LEARNING FROM HISTORY DESIGNING INTO HISTORY

This book is the result of a research conducted by the author, Barbara Bogoni, PhD in Interior Architecture and Assistant professor Full time in Architectural and Urban Design at the Politecnico di Milano, started at the Mantova Campus of the Politecnico di Milano under the guidance of the Vice-Rector Professor Federico Bucci, as part of the teaching activities of the AUIC School

of Architecture Urban Planning and Construction Engineering directed by the Dean Professor Ilaria Valente, in the Master of Science in Architectural Design and History coordinated by Professor Luigi Spinelli; with the participation and collaboration of Eduardo Souto de Moura, Full Professor in Architectural and Urban Design at Politecnico di Milano.


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BETWEEN PORTO AND MANTOVA Barbara Bogoni

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professor, politecnico di milano

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AN ARIADNE’S THREAD, BETWEEN ITALY AND PORTUGAL Ilaria Valente

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dean of auic school, politecnico di milano

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TO STUDENTS Eduardo Souto de Moura

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professor, politecnico di milano

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ABOUT TEACHING. DESIGNING

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ABOUT LEARNING. THE LESSON OF ARCHITECTURE

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ABOUT METHOD. THE DOUBT

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IMAGE GALLERY

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CREDITS

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index


BETWEEN PORTO AND MANTOVA Barbara Bogoni

This book is a small manual about the “making of architecture”, dedicated to the project’s scholars and practitioners. The text contained here in tells of the strategies outlined by Eduardo Souto de Moura, which are geared to solving practical design – and construction – related problems, while expounding on his buildings’ relationships with existing structures. The interest shown by Eduardo Souto de Moura in university work and the reasons which, from 2014, led him to take up a teaching commitment at the Politecnico di Milano bring forth an unprecedented aspect of the architect’s professional and human profile, such that it got me observing and interpreting the expressions and gestures depicting him in this role. The notes collected during conversations, interviews and idea exchanges in our Portuguese and Mantuan meetings and on the frequent occasions for national and international cultural exchanges constitute the soul of this volume. This tells of an architect who loves architecture and, without any selfcongratulations on his role as a teacher, of a man who is open to research and experimentation, while contributing toward getting to know a figure recognized among the Masters of the History of Architecture of our time. The book tells three stories. The first, entitled “About teaching. Architectural Design” is a biography of Souto’s teaching activity, of his work as a teacher, which he does not regard as an academic qualification but as a commitment toward training new generations of architects. It is a recording, a photograph and an interview of a specific way of working at the school, the fruit of my personal and proud sharing in pedagogical practice with my Master. 007


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ABOUT TEACHING. ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN

In these years of teaching activity carried out alongside Eduardo Souto de Moura, I noted a significant aspect of his teaching, which qualifies and enhances his commitment: his pedagogical method, which uses personal experience and projects undertaken as teaching instruments. This method, however, beyond the pleasure of a great professional to display his own works and assign them to be studied by students, is instead based on the assumption of a critical position towards his own work, which becomes an opportunity for discussion and collective reflection. At the same time, he lends himself to discussion with students on the issues raised by their own projects, showing a special propensity to accept ideas expressed by young people, to develop them, to create problems and to resolve them with the same commitment that he throws himself into in professional work. Furthermore, in terms of the relationship between learner and teacher, he demonstrates that he takes into strong consideration the character and personality of each student, formed in different cultural, geographical and political environments, with very uneven interests and perspectives. The ways and forms of Souto’s teaching, his “didactics of architecture” are based on a sort of mannerism, on colloquial, positive, open and experimental methods; thus, he disassembles and patiently reassembles the projects, using not the tools of the blacksmith or the forger, which impress the material with the form of his own thought, but those of the explorer who researches the students’ specific sensitivities through their way of interpreting the space.

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IMAG 04

Eduardo Souto de Moura and Barbara Bogoni during the teaching activity, Mantova Campus, Politecnico di Milano, Mantova, Italy

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extraordinary tools of the teaching process, can neither be exchanged for an end nor be considered sufficient for an architect’s complete training. Therefore, even in the context of the pedagogical experience, the good quality of the product remains the priority objective, while the process, the method applied, is only instrumental in achieving this objective, which is the architectural project design, and cannot be intended as an experimental experience for its own sake. So, to restore the correct relationship between method and discipline, between the path and the project design, to avoid lending excessive importance to the uncritical application of the former, accepting even the bad results, that is the bad project designs, Souto impresses his teaching with a strong sense of reality and responsibility. And, since architectural quality is never given by the sum of phases, actions or intentions, nor does it arise from pure research, from a state of philosophical doubt or from theoretical speculation, but is the product of complex operations, its success is directly proportional to the ability of designers (even young architecture students) to take a clear-cut stand, to take definitive and urgent decisions and to accept the responsibility they entail. In developing the project design, therefore, he indicates to always start from relieving the problem and from a discussion on that, to proceed by conducting research aimed at answering the questions and stimuli produced by the discussion, and to conclude by solving the initial theme with a quality project design. The project design, however, always supports the dubitative method, which well interprets the contemporary condition of restlessness, as defined by Fernando Pessoa[1]; such a condition suggests the experimental and multidisciplinary approach. GIVE YOURSELF THE RIGHT TIME One of the most significant problems of the contemporary era is, for Souto de Moura, the excess of speed which also affects the process of conception, design and construction of architecture, with inevitable consequences on the quality of the work, quality directly proportional to the amount of time devoted to meditating, verifying and sedimenting ideas. The complexity of the contemporary world today necessarily requires applying a slower and more regular rhythm, at least in the project design’s elaboration and drafting phase, which allows seeing things with the right coldness, and which ensures the necessary detachment and calm to check each element and each phase. In the era of instantaneousness, it is imperative to give yourself time, ask for more time for the project design, expand it and slow it down, to guarantee the quality of the work, in the belief that, in the practice of contemporary architecture, time is much more important than space. 029


specific query, never as a generic handbook or guide. The combination of design thinking and the use of references creates very different solutions, produced through an empirical process based on tests and verifications. The question Why not?, which Souto holds as the foundation of his experimental method and theoretical approach, triggers ideational processes that produce hypotheses and possible solutions while verifying its feasibility, with movements along heterogeneous and unknown trajectories and, above all, with an attitude open to every result, even an unexpected one. The initial thesis, the project design order, the place, the client, the historical period, the environment, the technical knowledge and the economic availability, interacting with each other, allow for a very wide range of combinations, in which the architect moves autonomously, with interest and curiosity towards not the method, but the result it produces at the end of the process. Thus, the finished product, which is the built architecture, represents only one of the topic’s many interpretations, one of the combinations or possible solutions, the one that the designer regards as the only architecture that interprets the idea of city, building and space that he wants to promote and realize (the idea is, therefore, nothing more than an arbitrary, personal interpretation, a specifically human sensitivity). In Souto’s work we thus witness the recovery of subjectivity in the reading of reality, and the rebirth of the interpretation of architectural design as a human experience. He openly supports this thesis, which clarifies his architectural production and his language, which are admittedly experimental. Why not?, then, as an expression of a design and cultural philosophy, applicable in professional work as in school: why not teach based on what we have learned or wanted to learn? on “What have I learned and what have I chosen to learn from architecture?”. The following text is, therefore, a collection of images, suggestions and brief observations, organized in the form of the encyclopedic vocabulary: an excursion in the cultural archive of Eduardo Souto de Moura, a journey from A to Z, or, rather, from Z to A, in the territories of architecture, with original escapes in parallel worlds. “When asked to give this lecture, as happens every time we embark on a new experience, I didn’t know where to start. I looked for an idea in my library and then in the digital archive, both classified in alphabetical order. I decided to start from there, from that order, to then make a personal choice, and I recalled Rafael Moneo’s beautiful lecture on arbitrariness, in which he supports the absolute 036


subjectivity of the architectural project design, which springs from a designer-led search into the reasons that justify the outcome of his work as necessary and not arbitrary. Here’s what I have learned from Architecture”[1]. The story starts from some critical considerations on the work of Zaha Hadid (1950-2016), narrative, didactic, as in the example of the three supple “dancing towers” in the skies of Business Bay, in Dubai (2009), a quotation, as emphasized by Souto, that is all too literal and devoid of decoding. Architecture, in its arbitrariness, can never be solely narrative. Architects and engineers, when exercising their profession, must, therefore, find answers to spatial problems in the subject sphere and with the tools provided, drawing strength from figurative structures extraneous to the architectural corpus, but with the aim of producing proper architectural spatialities, with a strictly architectural language that is neither obvious nor allegorical. To explain this concept, Souto constructs an effective, subtle analogy between the interpretative process of the images that produce the project and the practice of Japanese Sumo, a body-to-body combat sport and, in the Eastern view, a true form of art, in which the athlete gets to win the match by exploiting the synergy between his own strength and that of the opponent, that is, taking advantage of the opponent’s energy. In architectural design, as in Sumo and, as in everything else in life, we proceed by relying on random or unexpected events, and the difficulties encountered in the design process, if we learn to know them, can become important cues for solving problems. Souto’s projects stem from an initial intuition, which is arbitrary, but which is always intertwined with the knowledge of places, with the lucid perspective of their transformation, and with actual problems of the technical, economic and social feasibility of such transformation. Buildings never present themselves as a literal paraphrase of the initial idea, but, rather, as the expression of a cultured and eloquent architecture, produced by intuition, while being subjected to the reading of places and to the assessment of its technical and constructive potential. This method opens up to the interpretation of the architectural project as a practice of contamination, understood as a compositional method that involves and blends topics of different natures. To this contamination, Souto adds another element, arbitrariness, not interpreted in an iconic sense, in the semiotic meaning of resemblance of symbols with the entity they represent, but as a relationship that links the external form of a word (of a symbol or of a work) to a certain meaning, 037


However, the link between the two volumes, the very delicate place where adherence between the two buildings and the passage from one to the other occurs, is presented as a new project topic, the “third project”, on which the two Portuguese architects are called upon to work together, questioning each other regarding the materials, techniques and languages of the past and present. The outcome of this research is a space in balance between old and new, in which, through such simple and refined juxtapositions of frames, ashlars, backgrounds, overlays, which bounce on either side of the threshold line separating the two buildings, a very short habitable interior takes shape, in which history and modernity attain an empathic cohesion. Never reticent in making his references manifest and in expressing the continuous effort and labor geared to the subject’s past and present knowledge and research, Master Eduardo Souto de Moura, incessantly studies in order to learn from Architecture and from History, while teaching students to use a design method that looks with interest at past and present events, and which finds in them the reasons for doing architecture. His lecture speaks of the value of multidisciplinarity in drafting every architectural project, and of the need for each designer to build a cultural scenario rich in suggestions and references, captured by the broader stage of life. The method, which he himself acknowledges as being arbitrary, consists of letting oneself be touched, disturbed and moved by images, words, people, materials and buildings even far away in space and time, in intent and vocabulary. These aspects synergistically contribute toward achieving the complexity of truly contemporary architecture.

* [1]

[2]

In this chapter, Eduardo Souto de Moura’s words are taken from the conference entitled “What I have learned from architecture”, held by Degree students in Architectural Design and History Master’s Degree students at the Mantova Campus of the Politecnico di Milano, April 21st, 2016. In this regard, see the linguistics studies of Ferdinand de Saussure from the early 20th century. See Charles Bally, Albert Sechehaye (by), Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistic, Engl.tr. Roy Harris, Open Court, La Salle, Illinois 1983.

[3]

Peter Zumthor, Thinking Architecture, Birkhauser, Basel & Boston & Berlin 1999.

[4]

Following the first few works by Ludwig Wittgestein, we mention his masterpiece, Logish Philosophisce Abhandlung, from 1921. We also recall, among many other works, Letters to C.K. Ogden, 1973, Philosophisce Untersuchungen, 1953, Philosophisce Bemerkungen, 1964, Über Gewissheit, 1969, Vermischte Bemerkungen 1977.

[5]

See: Daniele Pisani, L’architettura è un gesto. Ludwig. Wittgestein architetto, Quodlibet Studio, Macerata 2011.

054

[6]

On the work of Távora, see the important contribution of Antonio Esposito and Giovanni Leoni, Fernando Távora. Complete work, Electa, Milano 2005.

[7]

From the conference entitled “Mies. Viewpoints”, held by Eduardo Souto de Moura and Francesco Dal Co in the Mantle Hall of the Palazzo Ducale in Mantova, during the 4th Edition of MantovArchitettura (May 12th, 2017).

[8]

Adapted from: Herberto Hélder, “Memoria Montagem”, in Photomaton & Vox, Assirio & Alvim, Lisbon 1979.

[9]

See: Antonio Esposito, Giovanni Leoni (by), Eduardo Souto de Moura, Electa, Milan 2003,

[10]

Le Corbusier, Sarabhai House, Ahmedabad, India (1951-1955).

[11]

See: Eduardo Souto de Moura, Ein Haus braucht aein Zentrum, interview by Brigitte Labs-Ehlert with Eduardo Souto de Moura, 2012, Wege zur Architektur 8, FSB, Brakel 2013.


ABOUT THE METHOD. THE DOUBT

“During the past three decades, Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura has produced a body of work that is of our time but also carries echoes of architectural traditions. His oeuvre is convincing proof of modern idiom’s expressive potential and adaptability to distinct local situations. Always mindful of context, understood in the broadest sense, and grounded in place, time, and function, Souto de Moura’s architecture reinforces a sense of history while expanding the range of contemporary expression. Already in his first works, undertaken in the 1980s, Souto de Moura had a consistent approach that never adopted the trends of the moment. At that time, he was intensely out of fashion, having developed his individual path during the height of postmodernism. As we look back today, the early buildings may seem normal, but we must remember how brave they really were back then. The versatility of his practice is evident in the variety of commissions he has undertaken with success. He is capable of designing from domestic to urban scale. Many of his early works in the 1980s were single-family houses and remain among his seminal works. However, the scope of his work has expanded: the Braga Municipal Stadium, Portugal, designed in 2000 is muscular, monumental and very much at home within its powerful landscape; the Burgo Tower, Portugal, designed at the beginning of the 1990s and built a decade later, consists of two buildings side by side, one vertical and one horizontal with different scales, in dialogue with each other and the urban landscape; the Paula Rêgo Museum, completed in 2008, a grouping of volumes interspersed in the trees at its site in Cascais, Portugal, is both civic and intimate, and so appropriate for the display of art.

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IMAGE GALLERY

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IMAG 08

Eduardo Souto de Moura, sketch for Casa das Artes, Porto, Portugal, 1980-1991

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IMAG 09

Eduardo Souto de Moura, sketch for Casa das Artes, Porto, Portugal, 1980-1991


IMAG 10

Eduardo Souto de Moura, Casa das Artes, Porto, Portugal, 1991

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IMAG 11

Eduardo Souto de Moura, sketch for the House in Nevogilde, Portugal, 1983-1988

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IMAG 12

Eduardo Souto de Moura, sketch for the House in Nevogilde, Portugal, 1983-1988


IMAG 13

Eduardo Souto de Moura, sketch for the Burgo Tower, Porto, Portugal, 1991-2007

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Eduardo Souto de Moura, sketch for the Burgo Tower, Porto, Portugal, 1991-2007

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IMAG 23

Eduardo Souto de Moura, Municipal Stadium in Braga, Portugal, 2000-2003

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IMAG 24

Eduardo Souto de Moura, sketches for the Municipal Stadium in Braga, Portugal, 2000-2003


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Eduardo Souto de Moura, Metro of Porto, Portugal, 2005

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IMAG 32

Eduardo Souto de Moura, das Bernardas Convent, Tavira, Portugal, 2012

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IMAG 33

Eduardo Souto de Moura, das Bernardas Convent, Tavira, Portugal, 2012


IMAG 34

Eduardo Souto de Moura, sketch for the das Bernardas Convent, Tavira, Portugal, 2012

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IMAG 37

Eduardo Souto de Moura, São Lourenço do Barrocal in Monsaraz, Portugal, 2016

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IMAG 38

Eduardo Souto de Moura, sketch for São Lourenço do Barrocal in Monsaraz, Portugal, 2016


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Eduardo Souto de Moura, Sรฃo Lourenรงo do Barrocal in Monsaraz, Portugal, 2016

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IMAG 43

Eduardo Souto de Moura, "The Last Bastion of Architecture", Arte Sella Park, Borgo Valsugana, Trento, Italy, 2019

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IMAG 44

Eduardo Souto de Moura, sketch for the "Last Bastion of Architecture", Arte Sella Park, Borgo Valsugana, Trento, Italy, 2019

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CREDITS

PHOTOS BY LUĂ?S FERREIRA ALVES

ARCHIVE OF DRAWINGS BY EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA

image 01 - p. 018, 019 image 02 - p. 020, 021 image 10 - p. 077 image 16 - p. 081 image 19 - p. 084 image 23 - p. 086 image 25 - p. 087 image 26 - p. 088 image 31 - p. 091 image 32 - p. 092 image 33 - p. 092 image 37 - p. 096 image 39 - p. 097 image 40 - p. 098

image 05 to 09 - p. 074 to 076 image 11 to 15 - p. 078 to 080 image 17 to 18 - p. 082 to 083 image 20 to 22 - p. 084 to 085 image 24 - p. 086 image 27 to 30 - p. 088 to 090 image 34 to 36 - p. 093 to 095 image 38 - p. 096 image 41 - p. 098 image 42 - p. 099 image 44 - p. 101

PHOTOS BY FRANCESCO CANCELLIERE image 03 - p. 022, 023 image 04 - p. 028 PHOTOS BY GIACOMO BIANCHI image 43 - p. 100

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SPECIAL THANKS TO Elena Montanari Marta Mengalli Francesco Cancelliere

PUBLISHER AMAG publisher

PRINTING lusoimpress

EDITOR Ana Leal

LEGAL DEPOSIT 475406/20

EDITORIAL TEAM Carolina Feijó Filipa Ferreira João Soares Tomás Lobo

ISBN 978-989-54620-6-3

PUBLISHER COLLECTION Pocket books

RUN NUMBER 1000 numered copies

PUBLICATION DATE november 2020

COLLECTION CONCEPT Tomás Lobo DESIGNER Carolina Feijó COLLECTION architecture in theory and history SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE Federico Bucci, professor of politecnico di milano Emilio Faroldi, professor of politecnico di milano Andrew Berman, architect in new york Luigi Spinelli, professor of politecnico di milano José Manuel Pedreirinho, architect phd in lisbon VOLUME I Eduardo Souto Moura learning from history designing into history

OWNER AMAG publisher VAT NUMBER 513 818 367

AUTHOR Barbara Bogoni, professor of politecnico di milano

CONTACT info@amagmagazineandbooks.com

TRANSLATIONS (italian to english) Victor M. Ferreira

FOLLOW US AT www.amagmagazineandbooks.com


EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA LEARNING FROM HISTORY DESIGNING INTO HISTORY

This book is a small manual about the “making of architecture”, dedicated to the project’s scholars and practitioners. The text contained here in tells of the strategies outlined by Eduardo Souto de Moura, which are geared to solving practical design – and construction – related problems, while expounding on his buildings’ relationships with existing structures.

Barbara Bogoni, Phd in Interior Architecture and Assistant Professor Full time in Architectural and Urban Design, teaches architectural design at the Mantova Campus of Politecnico di Milano, where she is responsible for the Architectural Design in Historical Contexts Studio, in cooperation with Eduardo Souto de Moura, and is member of the Scientific Committee of the UNESCO Chair in Architectural Preservation and Planning in Heritage Cities. Her extensive publications on Portuguese architecture includes A scuola con Eduardo Souto de Moura, Franco Angeli 2017; Eduardo Souto de Moura. Piranesi Prix de Rome, Accademia Adrianea Edibus 2019; Eduardo Souto de Moura. Un dialogo antico tra materia, tecnica e progetto, in Technè 16 2018; Álvaro Siza Vieira and Eduardo Souto de Moura. A dialogue on Architecture and Memory, in Commentaries on 21st century buildings, Franco Angeli 2020.

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EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA | LEARNING FROM HISTORY, DESIGNING INTO HISTORY  

EDUARDO SOUTO DE MOURA | LEARNING FROM HISTORY, DESIGNING INTO HISTORY  

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