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New exhibition inspired in European architectural collections premieres in Lisbon
Lisbon Architecture Triennale, Handle with Care: Tales of the Invisible exhibition, 2020 at Sinel de Cordes Palace © Hugo David.

LISBON.- “Invisible architecture is a conscious mode of being in space, of being in solitude, in the void; it is a way of life. Invisible architecture is a real force against the banal manifestations of visible architecture, against spiritless architecture. Being in space, one creates architecture.” Leonhard Lapin, The Concept of Invisible Architecture, 1978.

Handle with Care: Tales of the Invisible premiered on October 15th in Lisbon will be extended until December 12th. Commissioned by the Lisbon Architecture Triennale, this showcase is the first iteration of the broader project of Future Architecture Collection, which aims to strengthen bridges between Future Architecture Platform member institutions across Europe. The exhibition takes the audience on a time-travel journey across different landscapes of care through several architectural experiments that put people first. The architect and researcher Sonja Lakić from Bosnia and Herzegovina is the curator, and Spanish architect Diego Sologuren is responsible for the exhibition design. They both plunged into these architectural experimental projects from the 60’s and 70’s inviting us to rethink the current context which certainly requires a humanist reflection on different forms of care.

Installed at Sinel de Cordes Palace, Lisbon Triennale’s headquarters, the exhibition scenography intersects the five main rooms of this 18th century building. The show is divided in three interconnected chapters, paying tribute to progressive minds that called for a revolution invested in caring about a people focused practice of architecture.

A first chapter entitled Tales of Non-Architectures: The urban wonder of Parco Centrale by Franco Purini and Laura Thermes, with documents from the collection of MAXXI National Museum of 21st Century Arts (Rome), is dedicated to the specific project that the Purini-Thermes duo did in response to the so-called Anni di Piombo, referring to the terror and fear lived in those years in Rome. On the following chapter, Tales of the Permissible: The Architects of the Tallinn School, the curator explores the archive of the Estonian Museum of Architecture revealing architecture manifestos in the form of large dimension drawings from architects that, kept from travelling abroad under the soviet regime, managed to participate in the international architecture scene in different ways. And from the collection of the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana, the third chapter, The Paperers’ Tale: Smer B, presents us with faithful reproductions of original works from the class that experienced an alternative architectural education programme and lasted two years only.

A retrospective across the mindscapes of unconventional architecture, celebrating imagination and passion, individual effort(s) and collective endeavours, dreams and hopes, as well as the courage to act in the name of love for all humankind. It’s an insight into the world of non-architectures, an ode to ideas and designs that never came to light.

This is a journey deep within whatever architecture may (not) be and whatever form it may (not) take; a conversation on those that care and are taken care of; a portrayal of the non-evident; homage to the quirks of the human mind (...) This is a gentle reminder that life comes before buildings and an appeal to keep one’s mind and heart wide open for this is how one shall do good. Sonja Lakić

Future Architecture Platform is the first pan-European platform of architecture museums, festivals and producers, bringing ideas on the future of cities and architecture closer to the wider public. A well-balanced ecosystem of 26 European cultural players in architecture who perform specific roles within a complex European architecture programme. It connects multi-disciplinary emerging talents to high profile institutions like museums, galleries, publishing houses, biennials, and festivals. It provides talented conceptual thinkers and practitioners in architecture with opportunities to speak up - and be seen and heard. Since its inception in 2015, the Lisbon Architecture Triennale has been part of this extensive architectural network.

Sonja Lakić (1983) is an internationally trained architect and researcher with a PhD in Urban Studies. Her work revolves around open architecture and dialectical urbanism, with a keen interest in lived forms of buildings hence anthropological and sociological aspects of architectural design and the built environment. Topics of her curiosity that she nurtured in Gran Sasso Science Institute and while briefly appointed as visiting researcher at ISCTE-IUL in Lisbon, include the everydayness of architecture, home(making), housing and informality, buildings as living archives, post-conflict societies. Sonja operates across different disciplines and scales, works visually, and collects oral histories, practicing unconventional ethnography and storytelling mainly through photography.

Diego Sologuren (1985) studied Architecture at the ETS of architecture in San Sebastián and later in Sint-Lucas Brussels, where he was involved in a Master Program in urban studies. Since his graduation with a project thesis of a theatre school in Denmark, he has developed his career in several countries around Europe. In 2014 he joined the office of African architect Francis Kéré and had the opportunity to come in touch with a reality which influenced his way of conceiving architecture and design: honesty, economy of means, and formal simplicity. In 2017, he took part in the exhibition of the first Biennale of Architecture of the Basque Country as one of the finalists for the Young Architect Prize. Based in Switzerland, he develops his own experimental praxis, which is committed to taking architecture to its conceptual boundaries with other disciplines.

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