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Egídio Alves

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André de Castro Pinheiro

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“For the radicalism of a simple gesture”

José Carlos Oliveira

Founder and manager of NOARQ

José Carlos Oliveira

... nowadays Portuguese architecture is being celebrated (once again). Eduardo Souto Moura has received the highest architecture distinction at the Venice Biennale (!). One of the many, growing, distinctions to architects and to Portuguese architecture in the last 40 years. I make use of the Golden Lion, to illustrate the quality of the work of architects. There are so many and they are so good, those who provide service to architecture from Portugal.
I don’t mention it out of vanity. I call upon praise in the form of protest. "The silence is no longer golden: it is crystal; this crystal bubble of imposed silence. (...)”... by an anachronism issued by the President of the Portuguese Republic (called a "transitory exception”) and which allows a group of engineers to design architectural projects (?!).
I do not celebrate out of vanity, but out of thanks. The awarding of the Pritzker Prize in 1992 to Álvaro Siza unleashed the uniqueness of Portuguese architecture, which in silence wove its identity. Identity reinvented by Siza. In a world saturated with spectacular images, with profligacy of forms, just what is it that makes some Portuguese architecture so providential? Maybe the stillness. Maybe the clearness. Maybe the firmness. Maybe the simplicity. Maybe because it’s just architecture and nothing more. Maybe because it is "whole… all in each thing”.
I think that time (sluggish), marginality, closure and poverty have shaped the way we think and do. More than our erudite past, the lesson was based on craftsmanship, on the ingenuity of simplicity of means, on popular (dis)beauty. Silently in search of doing no more than is necessary, an idea arose of ​​existing. Silently.

[1] Silêncio, David Mourão-Ferreira, in "Tempestade de Verão” 
[2] Ricardo Reis, in "Odes” Fernando Pessoa’s Heteronymous