5 Oct – 12 Dec 2016
Lisbon Architecture Triennale / 5 Oct – 11 Dec 2016
5.10 – 11.12 2016

Building Site

Casa da Música model, Porto, image courtesy of OMA © Hans Werlemann

Just as the forms of architecture determine the organization of building sites, so technology and economy organize methods of production – with a significant social impact. These conditions constrict and stimulate architectural conception.

From the communication between design and construction, the organization of time and money, to the rhetoric of politics and technological innovations, all the cards for architecture-to-be are played on the building site.

The work of the architect serves as a counterbalance to the client’s anxiety in relation to many factors, including the need to balance building deadlines and cost optimisation with quality standards. In a building project many diverse interests require negotiation and the role of architecture unfolds as projects become buildings. To what extent have recent advances in construction and building site organization transformed architectural practice?

The exhibition is organized into modules linked by a common theme, which serve as anchors for exploring different approaches.

One of the modules is presented in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA). Drawing from the professional archives of Cedric Price, it focuses on a report he produced in the 1970s aimed at improving work conditions on building sites, providing very original insight into the organization of construction and work sites. Another example – presented in partnership with the Cité de l’Architecture & du Patrimoine – is a look at the entrepreneurial strategy of François Hennebique who, in the late nineteenth century, mastered construction in reinforced concrete and paved the way for the concentration of technical knowledge in the field.

The historical nature of the exhibition allows for cross-readings on issues that building sites generate, and invites the viewer to reflect on the transformations in contemporary building sites, the challenges they face and the impact they have on the practice of architecture.