The Poetics of Reason revisited

Held between 3 October and 2 December 2019, The Poetics of Reason was the 5th edition of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale, curated by the French architect and academic Éric Lapierre. Two months of an intense cultural programme that placed the city on the map of major international architectural events. For 61 days, the main museums in Lisbon opened for the five central exhibitions, a cycle of conferences, three awards, a competition and ten associated projects.

Economy of Means © Hugo David

It was present in its most varied locations in the city, from West to East, in museums such as MAAT, with the exhibition Economy of Means by Éric Lapierre; CCB – Garagem Sul, with Agriculture and Architecture: Taking the Country’s Side, by Sébastien Marot; National Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC), with Inner Space, curated by Mariabruna Fabrizi and Fosco Lucarelli; Culturgest where it was presented What is the Ornament? by Ambra Fabi and Giovanni Piovene, and finally, at the Sinel de Cordes Palace, where Natural Beauty by Laurent Esmilaire and Tristan Chadney was installed. An exhibition quintet that allowed an in-depth reflection around the rationality, starting from an extensive research on the architectural production and its narratives for a greater understanding of architecture.

Agriculture and Architecture: Taking the Country's Side © Hugo David
What is Ornament? © Hugo David

The entire curatorial team of the exhibitions are professors at the French University École National Supérieur d’Architecture de la ville & des territoires in Paris-Est, which has developed work on multiple areas, from research work, the redesign of architecture projects of emblematic works in the history of architecture, to the creation of models. International cooperation has also been extended to other academic institutions such as the Piet Zwart Institute (Rotterdam), MIARD (Rotterdam) and the Swiss school EPFL.

Inner Space © Hugo David
What is Ornament? © Hugo David

The diversity of the programme was broadened by the integration of ten Associated Projects that took place at various times throughout the edition, inviting the population to be part of community lunches, revisit convents with temporary installations or experience the dynamics of a boxing gymnasium. 

Boxing Boxes © Hugo David

In a multifaceted didactic approach, it called for the participation of various age groups, the educational service implemented a set of activities as a way to reach schools, professionals in the area or just curious people. The activities were developed in partnership with the co-producing institutions of the exhibitions, and brought together specialists from various cultural backgrounds including emerging authors selected from an international open call supported by the European Union. As a result of this selection, each emerging collective or individual conceived and implemented an activity related to one of the themes of the five core exhibitions, from performance dinners, to debates with the university community or workshops to build structures. 

Natural Beauty © Hugo David

With on a strong identity based on the letter T, by designer Marco Balesteros, this edition had a visual graphic system recognizable throughout the city. And to become also recognizable among the groups of authors who participate in the discipline, the Triennale has again implemented the conferences Talk, Talk, Talk. Three days of intense debates with relevant guests from architecture and theoretical and practical thinking, which culminated in informal debates watered with a glass of wine. 

This call for everyone’s participation was disseminated by the events that took place in the 5th edition and was extended also in the co-producers, whose role was strengthened, as well as that of international partners and funds. From 2016 to 2019 the Triennale grew, as well as the number of entities and institutions from the most varied origins, a total of 64, who joined this adventure and contributed to setting up a plural programme that promoted the diffusion of architectural culture across borders. 

Triennale 2019 Book Collection © Trienal de Lisboa / Ana Guedes

Once the Poetics of Reason is over, all these memories remain, as well as the collection of pocket size books, published in partnership with Poligrafa, the Barcelona-based publisher, also represents a timeless legacy that can be found in specialized bookstores around the world. A very successful bet that led us to the second edition of Taking the Country’s Side: Agriculture and Architecture. The Poetics of Reason had the most extensive nuclear programme ever, with 549 participants and an audience that exceeded 95 thousand visitors, surpassing our best expectations. Therefore, we want to thank all the people who contributed directly and indirectly in this Triennale 2019.

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