Urbanism of Absence – Vazio S/A
Urbanism of Absence
18/05/2016

The short text below was published on the exhibition catalogue of the “2º Instituto Tomie Ohtake’s Architecture Award”, which presented its prize finalists in September 2015. The jury was formed by Shundi Iwamizu, Abílio Guerra and Carlos Teixeira (Vazio S/A), who wrote about the winning project, “Cota 10″.

+info: Exposição do 2º Prêmio de Arquitetura Instituto Tomie Ohtake Akzonobel

Urbanism of Absence
Can architecture be the revelation of an absence? An investigation into a latent energy, a sensitivity to an inaudible background noise? That seems to be the motto of Cota 10. In a profession always concerned with building, few hear the echoes of what was demolished. Busy with adding, architects rarely consider the potential of subtraction, destruction, and voids.

Cota 10 is essentially an urban project understood not as the spatial organization of a city, but precisely the opposite: the microscale juxtaposed to the large, a staircase to comment on the evolution of cities, an investigation into a pure architectural element which was here isolated from its functional context to denounce the car oriented urbanism mistakes that plagued our cities. And it is also the antithesis of everything associated with urban: an ephemeral and instant proposal, infinitely far from all the bureaucratic and political barriers often associated with slow urbanism.

Being architect may be the expression of a desire to propose alternatives to the current profession’s status quo- the will to exercise it less conditioned by the pragmatism which plags their practice. And perhaps the interface to their limits areas is the true common ground of contemporary avant-garde.

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