Lisbon 2016 – In an exclusive interview with ArchiPanic, Lisbon Architecture Triennale curator André Tavares is positive about the future of the Portuguese capital and talks about the impact of architecture biennials and triennials on cities.
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The IV Lisbon Architecture Triennale explores how the architectural process change cities. How does this theme relate with Lisbon?
André Tavares: It had to be in Lisbon. To experience the Triennale you have to move through the city and its contradictions. We could have organized a programme to explain how cities should be built or transformed. But the connections are more intimate. They relate to a long-term architectural culture that inhabits Lisbon itself.
How has Lisbon changed in the recent years and how is it changing now?
Nowadays, the most visible face of the city’s transformation is tourism and foreign investment. But the clash with the city culture is strong. Nevertheless, the previous cycle of transformation was abandonment and decay. But despite all the problems, Lisbon is experiencing optimistic days.
2016 is an year of -ennials first Venice Architecture Biennale, then Rotterdam, Oslo, Istanbul and now Lisbon. Which is their real impact on cities?
I guess it doesn’t have a direct impact. The impact is rather on people, on the city’s citizens and its cultural environment.
How can Lisbon Architecture Triennale impact the city?
The Lisbon Triennale purpose is to foster architectural knowledge, being it a public awareness on architectural subjects as well a serious exchange between specialized audiences. Cities are transformed by its citizens; they build its architecture. Therefore, if we manage to raise the architectural awareness of citizens and architects, the impact can be positive.
How can -ennials contribute to expand the field of architecture and also offer the chance to bring awareness to the larger public?
Architecture is knowledge. I hope that sharing knowledge fosters new knowledge. These large scale events imply a tremendous effort to share knowledge and ideas while challenging established positions. They can contribute as long as they don’t reinstate the status quo but bring new arguments for the never-ending discussion about our life.