CEAA - Centro de Estudos Arnaldo Araújo


Popular Architecture in Portugal. A Critical Look


This research project constitutes a critical study of the book Arquitectura Popular en Portugal, published in 1961 by the Architects Union.

This publication was chosen not only because it is a landmark of Portuguese architectural culture history, but also because its critical analysis has become a current issue at a time when the vernacular and regional dimensions of architecture are back on the professional discussion agenda.

The point, however, is not merely to study this work in isolation, in itself and for itself; on the contrary, we claim that it needs to be considered with constant reference to the underlying theoetical elements that find expression in certain modern erudite languages.

Thus, this project takes up just two study hypotheses, characterized by Pedro Vieira de Almeida as ‘mezzo voce parameters’ which end up being complementary of each other and, we believe, absolutely key.

Firstly, the generic importance of the larger or smaller thickness of the walls that delimit architecture, resulting in what we can call, on the one hand, the poetics of thin walls, and on the other, the poetics of thick walls.

Secondly, the importance of transition-space in the general economy of architectural expression.

This project therefore works from two analytical variables as reliable analysis instruments, even testing this very reliability, taking as its object of study examples of the so-called vernacular architecture in Portugal.

A more thorough explanation of the working basis for this project was published in what we call Document Zero. (Pedro Vieira de Almeida – Dois Parâmetros de Arquitectura Postos em Surdina. O propósito de uma investigação. Porto: CEAA, 2010).