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Lisbon Architecture Triennale 2019 will explore specificity of reason and rationality in architecture

Portugal Architecture News - Aug 2, 2019 - 03:41   2585 views

Lisbon Architecture Triennale 2019 will explore specificity of reason and rationality in architecture

The 5th edition of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale is set to start from October 3rd to December 2nd 2019 in Lisboa, Portugal. Held as a major forum in every three years, the Triennale delves into the debate, discussion and dissemination of architecture that crosses geographic and disciplinary boundaries. 

This year, the Lisbon Architecture Triennale will open up a global discussion under the theme of "The Poetics of Reason", curated by French architect Éric Lapierre, founder and principal of Éric Lapierre Experience (ELEx). The curatorial team, which runs the master Architecture & Experience in the school of architecture of Marne-la-Vallée (Paris), and will co-operate with philosopher Sébastien Marot, is composed of a highly qualified group of practitioners and theoreticians: Ambra Fabi, Giovanni Piovene, Mariabruna Fabrizi, Fosco Lucarelli, Laurent Esmilaire and Tristan Chadney.

The title of the Triennale states that, for all its subjective and non-scientific dimension, architecture does rest on reason, and its aim is to shed light onto the specificity of this reason. 

Lisbon Architecture Triennale 2019 will explore specificity of reason and rationality in architecture

Curatorial Team. Image © Luísa Ferreira

Lisbon Architecture Triennale has been developing its mission as a non-profit organization fostering debate, thinking and practice in architecture. The first Triennale took place in 2007, under the theme Urban Voids. 

Indeed, the fact that architecture is grounded into reason and rationality is key to its being understandable, i.e. shareable, by everyone, and not just by architects. More than ever before, it stands as a condition to define an architecture for our contemporary ordinary condition. 

Lisbon Architecture Triennale 2019 will explore specificity of reason and rationality in architecture

Curator Éric Lapierre. Image © Luísa Ferreira

As a result of a massification of construction – more buildings have been built since the beginning of the previous century than ever before – such a condition implies that everybody is entitled to understand architecture without a specific background in the field.

Each of the five exhibitions that compose the Triennale 2019 will take up one particular aspect or dimension of this theme, in an attempt to circumscribe the stakes of architectural rationality.

Lisbon Architecture Triennale 2019 will explore specificity of reason and rationality in architecture

Image courtesy of Lisbon Architecture Triennale


MAAT – Central Tejo 

Economy of Means investigates what makes this category both a mark and a precondition of a rational architecture. Drawing on a large number of historical and contemporary examples, the exhibition will propose a typology of the ways in which the economy of means has exerted itself so far, and inquire about those it might choose to explore today. 

Curatorship: Éric Lapierre 

CCB – Garagem Sul

Agriculture and Architecture: Taking the Country’s Side looks into an environmental movement, which for more than four decades has consistently explored the hypothesis of a future of energy descent and its consequences for the redesign and maintenance of territories. In an attempt to reconnect architecture and agriculture, the exhibition will stress some of the lessons that contemporary architects and urbanists might draw from this whole school of thought and action. 

Curatorship: Sébastien Marot

National Museum of Contemporary Art 

Inner Space investigates how creative imagination has been historically nurtured by an ongoing confrontation with rational thought and how architects and artists in different epochs have devised rational systems to materialize their own visual, physical and mental universe. The exhibition aims at illustrating how architectural imagination lays the foundation for any architectural work, from classical treatises to the Internet and video games. 

Curatorship: Mariabruna Fabrizi and Fosco Lucarelli


What is Ornament? thinks about how after the Modern Movement had banned ornament from architecture, this idea and concerns did regain momentum since the Post-War, and have become nowadays crucial for the rational production of meaningful architecture. The exhibition will explain, through a series of thematic sections always showing historic and contemporary production, how ornament has never completely disappeared and in which conditions it can still exist nowadays as a relevant and essential issue. 

Curatorship: Ambra Fabi and Giovanni Piovene

Sinel de Cordes Palace

Natural Beauty looks at the way in which constructive rationality has been at the core of architecture for ages and how it can still be relevant in the contemporary production in Lisbon to create an organic architecture, as a system where each part is linked to each other. This exhibition will include works selected for the Lisbon Triennale Millennium bcp Universities Award Competition. 

Curatorship: Laurent Esmilaire and Tristan Chadney 

Lisbon Architecture Triennale 2019 will explore specificity of reason and rationality in architecture

Image © Hugo David


Based on criteria of excellence in the contribution to architecture, the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award will make a conference during the opening week of this 5th edition. A work of art of Portuguese authorship will be commissioned, and given to the winner of this Lifetime Achievement Award.

Open to young people till the age of 35, or to any studio with an age average that does not exceed 35, the Début Award wants to boost the recognition of recently established studios. During the opening week, whoever wins this prize will also be invited to present their work in a conference.

The Lisbon Triennale Millennium bcp Universities Award Competition will entail the participation of architecture schools that will be invited to study a territory. In 2019, that territory will be Marvila, in Lisbon. Some of the selected proposals will be part of the exhibition “Natural Beauty”.

The call for the Universities Award Competition, open to students in architecture schools around the world, the call was open from May 24th 2018 to April 30th 2019, and gathered several proposals. 

Talk, Talk, Talk

This highlight of the programme of Triennale 2019 is to be held during the closing week. Three days of conferences and debates, in a program that is born from the several themes of the exhibitions, and that will bring prominent architects, researchers and players from the international architectural scene. The talks will be held at Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, and the experience and thought doesn’t end here: the debates will be followed by dinners and special concerts. 

Associated Projects

An independent and rich production of great relevance and value, so essential to the cultural living mechanisms of the city. The team of Triennale invite exhibition projects, workshops, talks, and this year also film or music events, which deal with crucial problems relating to contemporary architecture and are interested in a lively debate, to join the Triennale 2019. 

Program Presentations

On 2019  "The Poetics of Reason" continues to be presented around Europe, as an invitation from different cultural institutions: in Helsinki, on April 1, by Archinfo; on 6 April in Cork, Ireland, for "Curating Architecture" forum; in Paris, on May 22, at the French Delegation of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and in Barcelona in June 3, with the curatorial team gather at the Mies van der Rohe Foundation. 

On 2018 the program was presented in Lisbon, on April 24, in a building under construction in Picoas, at the FPM41 project of Barbas Lopes Arquitectos. On May 23, in the opening week of the Venice Architecture Biennale, we held a very special event that brought together not only the Triennale programme, but also an unique performance by Thurston Moore in a peculiar location - the terrace of a house with a panoramic and stunning sight for Punta della Dogana and Laguna di Venezia.

As a variation from the usual four, the The Poetics of Reason will propose five main exhibitions taking place in the Triennale’s headquarters, Sinel de Cordes Palace, as well as Garagem Sul – CCB, MAAT - Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology and in two new venues: MNAC – National Museum of Contemporary Art and Culturgest. The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation will host the Talk Talk Talk symposium between 28th – 30rd November 2019.

Event facts

Event name: Lisbon Architecture Triennale 2019

Theme: The Poetics of Reason 

Dates: 3 October–2 December 2019

Venues: Campo de Santa Clara, Sinel de Cordes Palace, Garagem Sul – CCB, MAAT - Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology, MNAC – National Museum of Contemporary Art and Culturgest.

Top image courtesy of Lisbon Architecture Triennale

> via Lisbon Architecture Triennale