August 31, 2023
The Center for Architecture is excited to present Generation Proxima: Emerging Environmental Practices in Portuguese Architecture, opening Monday, October 2, 2023, at 6:00pm in conjunction with the launch of the 13th edition of Archtober, New York City’s architecture and design month. Curated by Pedro Gadanho—architect, author, curator, former MoMA curator, and Loeb Fellow at Harvard University—the exhibition provides an environmentally-oriented overview of emerging architectural practices in Portugal, highlighting seven firms whose work respond to environmental challenges while engaging with ideas of community, social engagement, and scarcity.
The exhibition builds on Gadanho’s recently published book, Climax Change! How Architecture Must Transform in the Age of Ecological Emergency, which discusses how the current environmental emergency will impact the practice of architecture. In recent decades, Portugal’s architectural scene has become increasingly recognized by the world at large, often represented by the widely known work of starchitect Álvaro Siza. For Generation Proxima, Gadanho chooses to spotlight the work of emerging practices who offer contextual forms of craftsmanship and design innovation in the face of the climate emergency, and whose work brings renewed attention to nature and biodiversity. Practices such as Artéria, Colectivo Warehouse, and Nuno Pimenta are applying their scarce resources to environmentally conscious proposals, while others such as Gorvell and Oficina Pedrez are pushing ecological research forward in the domain of building.
In many ways, Gadanho positions Generation Proxima as a global call to action for architects to respond to the challenges presented by the current ecological emergency. Yet, with an artful selection of emerging work, he acknowledges that change begins at the smaller scale of each single architectural practice. Whether by exploring new ecological materials, revising construction methods, using fewer resources, addressing climate justice, or reintroducing nature as a guiding principle, these emergent practitioners point hopefully towards a much-needed environmental shift.
“Generation Proxima spotlights the imperative shift towards environmental consciousness in architectural practice, centered on an emerging cohort of Portuguese architects,” says Jesse Lazar, Interim Executive Director, AIANY and the Center for Architecture. “Architects must usher in a paradigm shift to combat the ecological crisis, not perpetuate it. The Center for Architecture is excited present an exhibition that advocates for context-sensitive craftsmanship and innovative design.”
“I’m incredibly excited that one of the very few exhibition venues dedicated to contemporary architecture in NYC is looking at the urgency with which we must change our daily practices in face of the ongoing ecological emergency,” says curator Pedro Gadanho. “Generation Proxima focuses on the potential of an ‘environmental turn’ in the context of world-recognized Portuguese architecture, but it should be seen essentially as presenting global examples of how any existing, site-specific ‘ways of doing’ architecture can be enhanced towards goals of decarbonization, ecological balance, increased biodiversity, and lower resource use.”
Graphic designers Atlantic New York, in collaboration with FUZE, have created a visual identity for the exhibition by using unique letterforms to spell out “Proxima,” with each letter based on materials and principles from a different studio shown in the exhibition. The result maintains each studio’s distinct point of view, while simultaneously representing how their collective shift towards sustainable design will help improve both the planet and people for generations to come. Adding to the exhibition’s materiality, Generation Proxima will feature an expansive installation of cork, provided by Amorim, which will be constructed to form model bases, display structures, and extend to cover portions of the floor in some galleries.
The exhibition will be on view through March 23, 2024.
Artéria is an independent architectural collective established in 2011 in Lisbon. Founded and mostly composed by women, they have designed and developed rehabilitation projects with a social, ethical and ecological vision. They see their architecture and urban interventions as an integral part of local development processes, involving the direct participation of communities. For Generation Proxima, Artéria presents three projects that reveal the range of their interventions with minimum resources, from rehabilitation projects in urban and rural contexts to curatorial actions involving both exhibitions and festivals.
Colectivo Warehouse is an architecture and art collective founded in 2013. Their practice is based on experimentation, mediation, civic participation, collaboration, and co-creation—strategies that directly address the social and environmental challenges of our urban landscapes. This exhibition presents three examples that highlight their ability to design and build their own projects, whether they be cultural initiatives promoting public discussion and community activation or collectively built constructions that advance dialogue on issues such as reuse or climate awareness.
Gorvell is a permanently evolving multidisciplinary collaborative that includes architects, craftsmen, artists, and writers working together to investigate new possibilities in construction based on innovations with natural materials and inventive circular economy approaches. Through on-site project recycling and the development of custom-made machines to create construction materials out of demolition materials, Gorvell advocates for radical zero-kilometer building systems with the potential to reduce most of the emissions associated with a typical building site. For this show, Gorvell has partnered with artists Mariana Caló and Francisco Queimadela to create a video installation exploring how raw materials are prospected, processed, and transformed in three projects sited in different urban, rural, and industrial contexts.
Nuno Pimenta develops a transdisciplinary practice at the intersection of art and architecture. In conjunction with a strategy of a maximum economy of means, his work relies on the subversion of traditional construction elements and techniques for the creation of social, political, and ecological narratives. Pimenta uses off-the-shelf timber and recycled industrial materials to build temporary structures that, in contrast to illusive notions of permanence, evoke traditional Japanese architecture’s proximity to nature and its cycles. For Generation Proxima, he presents two built structures and an ongoing investigation, in which proximity to nature and the use of minimum resources serve to reestablish ecological bonds or advocate for new modes of energy production.
Oficina de Arquitectura Pedrêz is an eclectic workshop for applied research working at the intersection of art, ecology, and architecture, founded from the merger between Fashion Office and Skrei, two practices featured in a broad range of exhibitions and lectures. Pedrêz is named after an indigenous Portuguese chicken, on account of the breed’s ability to fabricate a shell out of materials they find in the ground. Here, they present examples of these unusual architectural devices, as well as self-built designs that bring together their various lines of investigation.
Over the past years, OODA, a quickly expanding architecture office based in Porto, has developed a network of international collaborations to respond to the demands of urban projects small and large. With a growing commitment to the environment and nature-oriented design, the firm seeks to show that corporate clients and programs can produce ambitious ecological solutions, as epitomized in a recent partnership with MVRDV for the renovation of a former oil refinery. For this exhibition, they have selected projects that range from large-scale urban transformations to site-specific nature-driven insertions in unique landscapes.
While Madeira-based Ponto Atelier are heirs to the minimalist expressions of the most recognized Portuguese architecture, their concerns with nature, biodiversity, and local geological and botanical resources have driven them to develop new sensitive approaches to site. The firm is interested in materializing their ideas through a diverse range of forms, combining projects, competitions, and exhibitions with research and academic work. In Generation Proxima, they present a video installation that highlights three projects that engage with different scales, programs, and natural contexts, from volcanic sites to biodiversity settings and storm water systems.
RSVP to Meghan Edwards, email@example.com.
Monday, October 2, 5:00-6:00pm
Members of the press are invited to a VIP tour with the exhibition’s curator, Pedro Gadanho, and representatives from the exhibition’s featured firms: Artéria, Colectivo Warehouse, Gorvell, Nuno Pimenta, Oficina Pedrez, OODA, and Ponto Atelier.
Monday, October 2, 6:00–8:00 pm
The Center for Architecture invites the press and the public to the opening night celebration for Generation Proxima: Emerging Environmental Practices in Portuguese Architecture.
Exchanging Collaborative Practices: Towards a Sustainable Future
Monday, October 2 and Tuesday October 3, 10am-4pm
Colectivo Warehouse will host a two-day residency focused on thinking and sharing experiences of collaborative processes to build a sustainable future for our cities. Peers from local and international collectives will participate in person and remotely.
About the Center for Architecture
The Center for Architecture is the premier cultural venue for architecture and the built environment in New York City, informed by the complexity of the City’s urban fabric and in dialogue with the global community. The Center shares a home with the AIA New York Chapter and has the unique advantage of drawing upon the ideas and experiences of practicing architects to produce thought-provoking exhibitions, informative public programs, and quality design education experiences for K-12 students. It also leads New York City’s annual month-long architecture and design festival, Archtober. The Center for Architecture’s aim is to further public knowledge about New York City architecture and architects, foster exchange and collaboration among members of the design, development, building, scholarly, and policy sectors, and inspire new ideas about the role of design in communities by presenting contemporary and practical issues in architecture and urbanism to a general audience. centerforarchitecture.org
About Corticeira Amorim
Corticeira Amorim stands as the world’s leading cork processing group. Established in 1870, today, the company spans dozens of business units across five continents. It exports an array of products to over 100 countries and boasts a vast network of 30,000 customers. Upholding robust sustainability credentials and a negative carbon footprint, Corticeira Amorim provides diverse solutions, materials, and applications to several of the world’s most advanced, disruptive, and rigorous industries, encompassing aerospace, automotive, construction, sports, energy, architecture, design, and the wine and spirits sectors. Now managed by the fourth generation of the Amorim family, the company remains rooted in the core values of longevity, ambition, pride, attitude, and passion that have sustained its impressive trajectory for the past 150 years. With an annual investment running into millions in R&D + I, the company garners 93% of its sales outside of Portugal and employs roughly 5,000 individuals. Corticeira Amorim’s mission revolves around adding unparalleled value to cork through competitive, distinctive, and innovative strategies, all in sync with nature. In 2022, the company reported a commendable €1.021 billion in consolidated sales. amorim.com