Inaugurated last March 21st, the exhibition TANTO MAR – Portuguese’s outside Portugal, at the CCB [South Garage – architecture exhibitions] reveals several projects of different authors, advocated to the theme of social involvement at different scales. The invitation to participate with the work we have been developing as Coletivo Urbano in partnership with S+A Brazil, for the urbanization of informal settlements in São Paulo, appeared around a year ago and since then a long process began, with sharing of ideas and discussions about the project principles, culminating in this exhibit, which will be open to the public from 21 March to 20 July.
The theme of the exhibition is not above suspicion, since in the present times the architect profession in Portugal is almost extinct. The impetus for intellectual survival, rather than a genuine desire to emigrate, led to more than 2200 architects have requested educational certificates to the Architects Association, to practice their profession outside Portugal, in this recent years. But this number is far from the reality that characterizes most of these professionals, seeking the opportunity to apply all their expertise and creativity in their training area. The factual true is simple: there are plenty more architects out of Portugal! And the result of this forced exodus is at sight, framed in the projects of this exhibition.
Thirty three projects in different continents are a reflection of the innate ability that we have to adapt to different situations, but above all are the reflection of the same substance and the same will to act. The Portuguese architects participation in this projects are of varied order: many of them established their own studios abroad, others collaborate in offices in their host countries, others there are that design on a voluntary basis, and of course those who are still in Portugal but the necessity lead them to target new markets, new frontiers.
However, a second theme served as a filter for the project selection: the social emergency aspect.
Social activism is, and will forever be, one of the concerns of architect’s professional class. The projects within social context, should not be the weakest link of our work spectrum, and it is in these difficult times that we surprisingly realize that many of these architects, mostly young, found in direct engagement with the poorest communities the opportunity to change the world with the knowledge of their crafts. Therefore, the merit of this exhibition should be entirely for them. Please, do attend to this exhibition and see how so much can be done with so few resources.