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Paulo Mendes da Rocha – a collection for the world

09/16/2020

The personal collection of one of the leading names in Brazilian architecture has just been shipped off to Portugal: UIA2021RIO Honour Committee member Paulo Mendes da Rocha has donated some 9,000 items – including his drawings, maquettes, photographs and sorted documentation – to the Casa da Arquitectura architecture centre in Matosinhos.

This decision caused a variety of reactions. Some Brazilian professors, researchers, architects and students lamented this loss, claiming that it would be harder to access these items, with adverse effects on studies and research projects. Mention was also made of the culture drain currently faced by Brazil.

However, the Casa da Arquitectura promises that these materials (which consist of some 6,300 drawings, 3,000 photographs and slides, 300 publications and maquettes prepared for over 320 projects) will be catalogued and digitised. From next year onwards, this collection will be available virtually, and will be available for exhibition in other countries from 2022 onwards.

In an open letter, the Executive Director of the Casa da Arquitectura, Nuno Sampaio, announced the intention of drawing up institutional cooperation protocols with Brazilian entities, in order to offer access to this collection and encourage exchanges.

Coming out in support of Paulo Mendes da Rocha, artists, architects and curators – many of whom are speakers or contributors to UIA2021RIO – signed a manifesto, which is published in full below.

A Hug: Standing with Paulo

Architect and Professor Paulo Mendes da Rocha proffers an invitation to reflect on whether a pyramid “is the stone, or the idea that it has been there for more than 5,000 years. Which lasts longer: the stones or the ideas?”

His personal decision to donate his collection of documents to the Casa da Arquitectura architecture centre in Portugal – thus ensuring its preservation, with free public access to this documentation – shows us that this is the way: in our integrated world with instant communications, it is ideas that must be acknowledged and preserved, and it is knowledge as a whole that will lead us to the future.

Looking beyond respect for the freedom to select the final destination of his personal collection, we believe that it is vital and urgent for us to recall, at this time, his notable track record of example, resistance and humanity in his professional life, his teachings and his political stances.

Long before the issue of colonisation was placed in the centre of discussions, as has occurred so pertinently of late, Paulo was already expressing his views on the problems arising from its persistence among us.

Long before contemporary international critics began to investigate building defunctionalisation and urbanisation, Paulo was already embodied in a democratising tradition of Brazilian architecture building “significant but nameless spaces” as defined by Flávio Motta.

Long before the tough times through which we are living today, Paulo saw his rights suppressed (together with Artigas, Maitrejean and so many others). Banned from the São Paulo University Architecture and Urban Planning School (FAU-USP), he wisely returned there and re-signified his teaching activities (and the School itself) during the years that Brazil was rebuilding its democracy.

The time has now come when he decided to open up his ideas to the world, with the same generous and democratic vigour and imagination as always. Opening up the world everywhere and for everyone, this is a great gesture that does not undermine the importance of all Brazilian institutions, suffering so severely during this sad time as culture is being dismantled in Brazil. This effort to save his work may be viewed as part of the resistance against this dismantling process.

This is why we express our full confidence in the accuracy of his decision, underpinned by all the other correct decisions he has made in his life. We believe that leaving his collection with the Casa de Arquitectura architecture centre is a civilisatory action that rises above historical issues, buttressing supranational links while strengthening the ties between Portugal and Brazil, as a project pursuing a fairer world that is better for all.

We close by borrowing an introduction to Paulo that was written by Flavio Motta almost fifty years ago – and is still perfectly up to date.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha battles this immobilism [of man faced by things] with the flair of the artist, the Brazilian and the architect that he is. He also allows us these skirmishes insofar as they are of interest to man. Not only does he allow them, he stirs them up even beyond national boundaries, for historical rather than geographical reasons, seeking time that was not lost, but rather taken away.
Flavio Motta, Textos Informes, 1973

Signed

Abilio Guerra
Achiles Coelho Maciel
Adriano Bergemann
Alberto Faria
Alberto Tassinari
Alejandro Aravena
Alejandro Echeverri
Alexandre Brasil
Alexandre de Carvalho
Alexandre Delijaicov
Alexandre Martins Fontes
Alexandre Prisco
Alvaro Puntoni
Alvaro Razuk
Alziro Carvalho Neto
Amauri Gavião
Ana Belluzzo
Ana Terra Capobianco
Ana Tostões
Ana Vaz Milheiros
Analia Amorim
Anderson Freitas
André Luiz Prado
André Vainer
André Velloso
Andrea Pedrazzini
Andrey Rosenthal Schlee
Angela Paredes
Angelica Alvim
Angelo Bucci
Annete Spiro
Antonio Carlos Barossi
Aracy Amaral
Ary Perez
Barbara Hoidn
Bernardo Carvalho
Bia Lessa
Bob Wolfenson
Bruno Braga
Bruno Santa Cecília
Caio Calafate
Camila Toledo
Carlos Alberto Maciel
Carlos Antônio Leite Brandão
Carlos Arcos
Carlos Barrado
Carlos Café
Carlos Corbett
Carlos Eduardo Comas
Carlos Guilherme Mota
Carlos Zilio
Carmela Gross
Carolina Bueno
Carolina Bueno Andrade Silva
Célia Euvaldo
Celso Pazzanese
Ciro Pirondi
Cristian Nanzer
Cristiane Muniz
Cristiano Lindenmeyer Kunze
Cristina Monteiro de Castro Pereira
Daniel Mangabeira
Daniela Sá
Danilo Santos de Miranda
Denise Solot
Diane Gray
Diego Portas
Eder Alencar
Edson Fernandes
Eduardo Aquino
Eduardo Argenton Colonelli
Eduardo Ferroni
Eduardo Pierrotti Rossetti
Eduardo Souto de Moura
Elisabete França
Elisio Yamada
Ester Grinspum
Euripedes Neto
Evelise Grunow
Fabiano Melo
Fabiano Sobreira
Fábio Magalhães
Fábio Miguez
Fábio Valentim
Fátima Lúcia Cisneiros
Felipe Rio Branco
Felipe Tassara
Fernanda Barbara
Fernanda Neiva
Fernando Luiz Lara
Fernando Maculan
Fernando Viegas
Filipe Pederneiras
Flávio de Lemos Carsalade
Francesco Dal Co
Francisco Fanucci
Francisco Rivas
Frederico Rabelo
Gabriel Daher Jardim
Gabriela Izar
Gal Oppido
Gerardo Caballero
Gilberto Franco
Gilson Paranhos
Gleuson Pinheiro
Gloria Cabral
Gonçalo Byrne
Gonzalo Barrado
Gregório Rosenbusch
Gui Paoliello
Guil Blanche
Guilherme Bravin
Guilherme Motta
Gustavo Penna
Haroldo Pinheiro
Henrique Coutinho
Hermes Romão
Hugo Mesquita
Ignacio Pedrosa
Igor Campos
Igor Dourado
Inês Lobo
Iole de Freitas
Iran do Espírito Santo
Isa Grinspum Ferraz
Jac Leirner
Jaime Marcondes Cupertino
Javier Corvalán
Jean Pierre Crousse
Jô Vasconcellos
João Belo Rodeia
João Carmo Simões
João Diniz
João Luis Carrilho da Graça
João Luiz Valim Batelli
João Nitsche
João Paulo Beugger
Jorge Furtado
Jorge Pessoa de Carvalho
Jorge Silvetti
Jorge Villavisencio
José Armenio Brito Cruz
José Fernando Minho
Jose Maria Saez
José Oswaldo Vilela
José Paulo Gouvea
José Resende
Josep Maria Montaner
Joseto Cubilla
Juliana Villela Junqueira
Julio Gaeta
Jupira Corbucci
Larissa Pontes
Laura Penna
Laymert Garcia dos Santos
Leda Catunda
Leonardo Bianchetti
Leonardo Finotti
Leticia Tamisari
Lisiane Dutra
Lua Nitsche
Lucas Fehr
Lucía Barrado
Luciana Saboia
Luciano Margotto
Luís Fernando Teixeira
Luiz Henrique Lopes dos Santos
Luiz Otavio Rodrigues
Luiz Renato Martins
Maira Rios
Manoel Balbino
Manoel Fonseca
Manuel Aires Mateus
Marcelo Barbosa
Marcelo Ferraz
Marcelo Gualano
Marcelo Morettin
Marcelo Suzuki
Marcelo Vila
Marcia Lucia Guilherme
Marcia Terazaki
Marcio Cotrim
Marco Giannotti
Marcos Acayaba
Marcos Cartum
Marcos Cereto
Marcos Franchini
Marcos Laffyte
Marcus Vinicius Damon
Maria Alice Milliet
Maria Cristina Villefort Teixeira
Maria Helena Flynn
Maria Helena Queiroz Lobo
Maria Isabel Imbronito
Maria João Figueiredo
Maria Lucia Malard
Maria Lúcia Mello Oliveira Cacciola
Marianna Boghosian Al Assal
Mariano Faraci
Marina Correia
Mario Biselli
Mario Corea
Mario Figueroa
Marisa Moreira Salles
Mariza Machado Coelho
Marta Moreira
Martin Benavidez
Martin Cobas
Martin Corullon
Masao Kamita
Matheus Gorovitz
Matheus Seco
Maurício José Laguardia Campomori
Maurício Rocha
Michelle Jean de Castro
Miguel Góes
Miguel Maratá
Milton Braga
Monica Bertolino
Monica Moreira
Murilo Romeu
Nader Tehrani
Naia Alban
Nara Grossi
Nathalia Cantergiani
Nattalia Bom Conselho
Neilton Dorea
Nelson Kon
Neudson Braga
Nicolas Campadonico
Nivaldo Andrade
Nonato Veloso
Nuno Ramos
Otavio Leonidio
Pablo Hereñu
Pablo Talhouk
Patrícia Galvão
Patrício Porto
Paula Bonomi
Paula Zasnicoff
Paulo Henrique Paranhos
Paulo Monteiro
Paulo Pasta
Paulo Pederneiras
Paulo Portella Filho
Paulo Ribeiro
Paulo Sergio Duarte
Pedro Morais
Pedro Nitsche
Pedro Paulo Palazzo
Pedro Pederneiras
Pedro Varella
Philip Yang
Rafael Antonio Cunha Perrone
Raul Gradim
Renata Semin
Ricardo Bak Gordon
Ricardo Bozza
Ricardo Carvalho
Ricardo Sargiotti
Roberto Aflalo
Roberto Klein
Roberto Schwarz
Rodolfo Marques
Rodrigo Andrade
Rodrigo Mendes
Rodrigo Monteiro
Rodrigo Naves
Rodrigo Santana
Ronaldo Brito
Rui Furtado
Ruth Verde Zein
Sami Bussab
Sandra Barclay
Sérgio Magalhães
Sérgio Sister
Silvana Romano Santos
Solano Benitez
Sophia S. Telles
Stan Allen
Stella Senra
Suzana Barbosa
Sylvia Ficher
Vanda Klabin
Vinicius Andrade
Violeta Kubrusly
Waltercio Caldas
Wanderley Ariza
Wesley de Oliveira
Wilfried Wang
Yung Ho Chang
Zaida Muxi
Zeca Brandão


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