Building Site

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Just as the forms of architecture determine the organization of building sites, so technology and economy organize methods of production – with a significant social impact. These conditions constrict and stimulate architectural conception.

From the communication between design and construction, the organization of time and money, to the rhetoric of politics and technological innovations, all the cards for architecture-to-be are played on the building site.

The work of the architect serves as a counterbalance to the client’s anxiety in relation to many factors, including the need to balance building deadlines and cost optimisation with quality standards. In a building site many diverse interests require negotiation and the role of architecture unfolds, as projects become buildings. To what extent have recent advances in construction and building site organization transformed architectural practice?

The exhibition is organized into modules linked by a common theme, which serve as anchors for exploring different approaches.

One of the modules is presented in partnership with the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA). Drawing from the professional archives of Cedric Price, it focuses on a report he produced in the 1970s aimed at improving work conditions on building sites, providing very original insight into the organization of construction and work sites. Another example – presented in partnership with the Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine – is a look at the entrepreneurial strategy of François Hennebique who, in the late nineteenth century, mastered construction in reinforced concrete and paved the way for the concentration of technical knowledge in the field.

The historical nature of the exhibition allows for cross-readings on issues that building sites generate, and invites the viewer to reflect on the transformations in contemporary building sites, the challenges they face and the impact they have on the practice of architecture.


Exhibition included in the programme of the 4th edition of Lisbon Triennale – The Form of Form – with co-production of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.


Curator: André Tavares. Co-curators, Giovanna Borasi (CCA), Hugo Palmarola, Ivo Poças Martins, Jorge Carvalho, Pedro Alonso, Simon Vaillant (CAP); Invited studios: David Chipperfield Architects, OMA, SKREI, Usina; Special guest: Michael Wesely; Exhibition design: SAMI-arquitectos; Content loaners: AFA Consult, Giovanna Calvenzi, Museu do Carro Eléctrico, Museu Municipal de Oliveira de Frades, Rita Burmester, V&A; Institutional partners: CAP – Cité de l’architecture & du patrimoine, CCA – Canadian Centre for Architecture.


Related events:


Talk with the guest Inês Moreira

Saturday, 10 December, 4:00 p.m.

In Portuguese only

Free admission


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