Portuguese architectural magazines: modernism and social reform
Pedro: thank you for this fascinating presentation. The magazine images you show seem to capture precisely the "quiet modernism" you describe - the limiting forces of traditionalism and nationalism, and the emergence of modernism (Cassiano Branco) and fascist monumentalism (the 1940 national exhibition) as the belated (?) expression of international architectural styles. What I missed, though, was any of the socially progressive and idealistic elements that were so fundamental to the modern movement in other countries. Did Portugal not build the mass housing projects, technical schools, and sanatoriums, that sprung up in other European countries? And if not, were there voices calling for this kind of modernist renewal of architecture and urban planning? These don't appear as a presence in the slides you show - were they absent, or silenced?
Dear Tim, thank you for your question. Also I would like to thank you again for organising this amazing conference. I have been watching all the presentations with great interest. You are right to point out that gap in my presentation. Indeed there is an interesting question of modernism being associated with a progressive agenda of social development and urban renewal. But in the case of Portugal, the modernist ideals of the first half of the century - exemplified here by Casino Branco’s work - appeared mostly entangled with the pursuit of a national architectural identity. The fascist regime did have an important program of urban development and many infrastructures were built during its existence and they were all heavily featured in these magazines. But the ethos of the most modern of the Portuguese architects at that time, contrarily to its European counterparts, was perhaps never as radical. In that sense they didn't seem to advocate a total rupture with the past (at least not until much later with the development of suburbia). In fact during the first half of the twentieth century many housing developments were built along new street layouts in a logic of expansion but of continuity with the existing urban fabric - with some rare exceptions. There are so many beautiful and interesting architectural examples within these magazines that I’d love to show. I’m sure they would make this point come across more clearly.
There are so many beautiful and interesting architectural examples within these magazines that I’d love to show. I’m sure they would make this point come across more clearly.
If you would like to post copyright-free images, please do! We'd love to see them. You can attach images in your posts, or send me a pdf and I'll add this to the Presentation materials page. ?