lisbon architecture triennale 2013: the real and other fictions lisbon architecture triennale 2013: the real and other fictions
sep 20, 2013

lisbon architecture triennale 2013: the real and other fictions

lisbon architecture triennale 2013: the real and other fictions
image © designboom




like most of the architecture biennale / triennale events worldwide, this exhibit is wanting to make a social argument about architecture itself. the triennale’s format is in the fictional realm and most works on show employ the language of science fiction as a means of telling architecture-utopia stories.


located all over the portughese city, the ‘close, closer’ events – all free to the public – are mainly meant for the residents of lisbon and not for architecture tourists from the around the world.

the ‘parlamento urbano’ installation by zuloark allows visitors to discuss the ‘universal declaration of urban rights’
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the 2013 triennale curator beatrice galilee emphasizes the social role of architecture through workshops, networking, and research projects.


it’s about a generation of architects that are more interested in big ideas than in project details of buildings. I never told people not to put buildings in their shows, but there needs to be something more‘, she said.

curator mariana pestana in the palacio pombal and in the oratory space where the belfast-born writer maria fusco performed her ‘the legend of the necessary dreamer’ on a daily basis – one storyteller speaking intimately to one listener
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in fact, in portugal where architecture graduate unemployment stands at 40%, the desire for architects to be artists, critics and philosophers cannot be ignored. the current financial crisis in europe has had an immediate effect on the perception of local architecture practices. in this context, also the triennale sadly suffered from lack of steady funding. luckily the rich urban and natural landscape of lisbon offers a selection of very beautiful venues.


for example, the palacio pombal, a 17th-century palace, former residence of marquis of pombal, the prime minister of portugal. after the devastating earthquake of 1755 it served as the embassy of spain, as headquarters of a syndicalists’ group and has been the base for the portuguese association of landscape architects.

‘in sala da nação’ a mirrored desk and chair in an installation by paulo moreira and kiluanji kia
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in the ‘real and other fictions’ exhibition, curated by portuguese architect mariana pestana, the participating creative studios were asked to revisit its spaces and re-imagine its past uses in a series of installations that incite debate and participation. it is an exhibition about ‘use’, which lends itself to be used. it is composed of seven spatial interventions that engage the audience in intimate encounters with the space that envelopes them. beyond representing architecture, it presents it.

do you believe in democracy? visitors tag yes or no and once the yellow ballot is inside the box it is shredded up
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the memory game (2012) by carsten höller and attilio maranzano – on a table, that can be transformed into a rucksack, is a set of 62 back-and-front cards reproduces the series of photographs of amusement parks. a game to loose control.
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one side the cards show the original photo by attilio maranzano; the other has the same photo but altered with artistic colour separation by carsten höller
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visitors are welcome to play the memory game is practically impossible to play
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L.Q.F.U.B. the ‘fanzine machine’ by portuguese collective ‘friendly fire‘…
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promotes participatory publishing …
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… and open letters to VIP architects
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architecture here is intended as a critical space and a space of critique. visitors are welcome to contribute spontaneously to the publication.

‘in dreams I walk with you’, the (theater without actors) installation by noam toran and onkar kular explores notions of archive, memory and fiction
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the theatrical piece is presented as a haunted set, kept alive through a programmed lighting and audio sequence which loops over and over, as if a technician had forgotten to turn offthe power after a day of rehearsals. the subject of the play focuses on the relationship between mario castelhano (1894 – 1940) and manuel rijo (1897 – 1974), railworkers and militant anarchists who shared most of their lives in exile or this piece the two meet and in their dreams they construct different at-times opposing utopias.
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a room by the  ‘center for genomic gastronomy‘ is set up as a dining space and will host dinners and debates in the next few days of the festival
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lisbon architecture triennale
12 sep – 15 dec 2013


the 2013 lisbon architecture triennale is entitled ‘close, closer’. there is more designboom coverage to come, please stay tuned.

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