Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa
05 OCT 2016 - 12 DEC 2016
The Form of Form
André Tavares and Diogo Seixas-Lopes
Additional info

Locations: MAAT, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, CCB - Garagem Sul, amongst others


The Form of Form

The world is transformed through architecture. Under the title The Form of Form, and aimed at a national and international audience, this 4th edition of the Lisbon Triennale sets out to further the debate around a wide spectrum of contemporary approaches to architectural practice today; in other words, to debate the ways in which the world is transformed. With its diverse yet cohesive programme, the Triennale will seek to highlight currents of thought considered important for the production of architecture in a social context that is in constant transformation.

The different perspectives on architecture will be presented through their aesthetic, technical, social and political aspects. Understanding architecture as a profession that is committed to a complex social context will make it possible to further advance the implications and possibilities of architectural decisions, enhancing their technical and cultural importance in society.

Structured around four core exhibitions, the programme will highlight the challenges that architects face today. Those four exhibitions maintain a dialogue among them: on authorship, on conception and on the visual universe in which forms of architecture move (The Form of Form), passing through the process that forms that are assembled are subjected to in the decisive moment of the building site (Building Site), to the critical circumstances of the transformation the landscape (Sines: Seaside Logistics), until the representation of the city and the uses that assembled forms offer (The World in Our Eyes). And that dialogue unfolds in the satellite exhibitions and associated projects that will complement the diversity of views and contents proposed in this edition of the Triennale.

André Tavares & Diogo Seixas Lopes

The Form of Form

One of architecture’s fundamental legacies is its own form. Not only is history built from its visual universe, but form is also a common language that brings together architects from all over the world in a collective conversation. In this exhibition, which proceeds from a potentially infinite repository, three architects build a dialogue that challenges notions of authorship and the limits of form.

Mariabruna Fabrizi and Fosco Lucarelli were invited to reflect upon a selection of examples from the Socks platform (, which was created by them. They highlight the permanence of form and its capacity to condense a set of values into any visible thing. The Socks format has evolved over the years from an online magazine to become a platform for speculation and discussion that also draws on Microcities’ own architectural projects.

Functioning as a “conversation,” the exhibition’s narrative is developed around a number of spaces that are inspired by examples of architectural designs by Johnston Marklee, Nuno Brandão Costa and Office KGDVS, who are responsible for the exhibition design. Each of the spaces is designed to house content selected from the extensive Socks database.

The language of architecture will be explored through a sample of construction drawings, landscape interventions, urban plans, artistic investigation, and other elements. Originating from different time periods and regions of the world, the content highlights what remains constant and what changes, as well as identifying analogies and affinities in the creation of the built environment. Organized along twelve interlinked spaces, with each space incorporating images related to a core element, the exhibition will define a continuous seam of works that are directly inter-related, be it through affinity or opposition.

Curated by Diogo Seixas Lopes, the The Form of Form exhibition is also a process. The ultimate aim is for it to be a “meeting space” that can demonstrate the meaning of form in architectural design, in the past, present and future.

Building Site

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.

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