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young latin american architects forum

When we first thought about holding this event, two aspects were fundamental for us to take the idea forward: the concept, that is, finding a relevant topic for the debate, and the curatorship, which would consist in choosing names that reflect well the proposal of the chosen concept.

 

Regarding the first, it was a priority to bring the topic under discussion closer to our daily practice, reinforcing a narrowing between theory and practice, between what is discussed and what is done. It was necessary that the project returned to being the architect's greatest tool to work, and it was necessary to improve this tool, so that it would not become a weapon against us. With that, the profile of the architects who should be invited began to become clearer. First, architects who were designing and building in their cities were needed, always based on a critical stance and theoretical reflection. Another important point was the context of these actions, inserted in realities similar to ours, with the same urban problems and the same limited resources. The projects presented would not only be those that we see in books and we resign ourselves to passively appreciating, convinced that we will never do anything like that, but the same ones we see in our daily journeys, the same ones we carry out in our daily practice. What we will see, therefore, are new ways of facing these problems and challenges, not seeing them as accommodation, but as new opportunities for action. We seek to select architects who not only stand out for their grandiose or impressive works, but for the architecture of everyday life, our daily life and who do not seek to stand out in the contexts in which they operate, allowing themselves to be absorbed and becoming part of them as if they had always been there. It is the architecture of the common man that Edgar Graeff talks about in the book Building.

 

For this, two cutouts were made, one of place and the other of time. In the first, we selected Latin America, not as a way to create an identity for Latin American architecture, since, in the current globalized world, it is difficult to establish regional elements that can unite, in a Latin American style, the architecture of its various countries. There is no doubt, however, that political, social and economic issues end up bringing the architectural production of these countries closer together. In recent years, a valuable architectural production has been developed in Latin America through its new generation of architects. This generation has been proving that, amidst the scarcity of resources, social, economic and political limitations, it is possible to create quality architecture. Hence the second cutout, selecting precisely this new production, young architects who are entering and establishing themselves, and who can show ways and options to act in these contexts. Despite the difficulty of dealing with this architecture still without a historical distance, it is necessary to know and discuss how these architects are responding to these new questions. More than showing consolidated examples, the aim was to show insertion strategies, ways of seeing and acting in cities, pointing out paths and even generating new knowledge. Dutch architect Ole Bouman, when asked about the role of architecture journals today, said, 'For a long time, specialist journals have contributed to the discourse of architecture with post-factual publications. They reacted to architectural production, mediating between the audience and what had been turned into reality. Speculation and reflection, at best, were terrains through which the most specialized titles traveled. This is gonna change. As the paradigm of architecture is shifting from debate over form and expression to a focus on performance and problem solving, journals can now take a much more active role - being spot-on opportunities, guiding practitioners, bridging the gap between social demands and available talents. Viewed in this way, magazines are not passive observers, mere update vehicles, or celebrity sellers. They can become diggers for the possible futures of a discipline that is in the midst of reinventing itself.' It is in this context that this event is inserted, not as a passive observer, but as an active agent in this process of reinventing the discipline called architecture.

 

And that's how we got to this moment. We hope that what is presented in these three days does not give us definitive answers, but that it generates even more questions and encourages us to seek, more and more, better answers.

 

Bruno Braga

 

This text was presented at the opening of the Latin American Young Architects Forum on June 8, 2011, at Fábrica de Negócios, in Fortaleza.

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