During the Cold War, the world was divided into three different categories that grouped countries according to their alliance: First World (United States, Western Europe, South Africa and Australia), Second World (USSR; Japan and Cuba) and Third World (Africa, Middle East and South America). This designation was changed with the fall of the Soviet Union into a social-economic concept that still divided the world in three parts, but now as Developed Countries, Developing Countries and Undeveloped Countries. Currently, although this division is not agreed among the various global organizations, all are ruled by statistical indicators that establish different relationships and hierarchies (economic, social, human and political) between countries – which inevitably lead to calling them Developing Countries and Emerging Countries. Currently, the list of Emerging Countries from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) includes about 150 countries, from Ethiopia and Yemen, to Croatia and Brazil.
Countries with emerging economies are and will always be a breeding ground for new proposals, new projects, enabling them to achieve theoretical hypotheses and even projects which initially might have been difficult to handle. Over the past twenty years, we have seen the worldwide development and economic growth of several countries – China, United Arab Emirates, and more recently, Angola and Brazil, among others – and following that same growth has always been the possibility of implementing many projects and proposals for a new century.
At a time when most of our architects are emigrating, or working from Portugal for emerging countries we propose with this issue to open the overdue debate on the type of activities done by Europeans in emerging countries and also on the type of requests made from those countries, to know what they think about the work of those emigrating professionals or “remote control” professionals. For a new generation of architects, freed from the colonial past, the personal challenge is working in countries, where they can speak the same language, and also the professional opportunity of seeing their projects built. However, even if – as referred by José Adrião in his interview in this issue – young architects are well prepared from a technical and conceptual point of view, when facing the reality many questions and doubts appear: what kind of architecture can be made in these contexts and how? What is expected from the architect is it a “foreign” professional, an agent of modernity, or a professional that integrates models and promotes continuity? How do you overcome existing barriers (linguistic, cultural, technical and even the size of the territories)? How to take advantage of what can be innovative and potentially interesting in territories under construction?
Interestingly, the articles received in estudoprevio.net are synchronized, which describe and reflect upon a more participative and collaborative type of action as a design method. Architects such as Luca Astorri, who currently works with NGO in countries like Brazil and Nigeria, Paulo Moreira, in Angola, and Raquel Henriques advocate that fieldwork is the best way to truly know the territory and its inhabitants and the best way for a design process, instead of the normal procedure, based on the plan/architect/project process with placing an order or requesting a tender.
At the end, we will always have built territories. We just need to know how.
estudoprévio editorial line
ESTUDO PRÉVIO (Preliminary Study), it's the semiannual publication of the Centre for Architecture, City and Territory Studies (Centro de Estudos de Arquitectura, Cidade e Território) of Universidade Autónoma de Lisboa (CEACT/UAL).
With this publication we want to project a new place where it is possible to share knowledge with a simple conversation, with the accuracy of a technical article, with a book launching or with an open debate in the digital community.
The proposal to create another architecture magazine was, since the beginning, a challenge to choose a slightly different path and so we created an editorial line centred on the real conditions that determine an architectural production before any sketch or model or even before we become architects.
The permanent Crisis, the constant Natural Disasters, the development of the City Outskirts will certainly be topics that we would like to deepen in this publication, but also about other topics that affect and influence the Portuguese architecture, for instance the number of Portuguese architects now reaching 20.000, the number of architects at the verge of Unemployment, and on the other hand the growing diversity of New Professions where architects can make a contribution.
We want this publication to make a preliminary study “(ESTUDOPRÉVIO”)on teaching and practical aspects in architecture and extend the debate on the conditions and constraints of our profession, in order to continue to evolve by sharing experiences, opinions and research works. Only then can we build a solid base, open to find solutions to new problems and challenges that the world faces nowadays.
The core of this publication focuses on Interviews and on the open system of Submission of Articles. The Interviews will focus on generating conversations that float among the educational practices, research and professionals of each interviewee, can be read in Portuguese and English, and also can be heard on the web site; the Articles will be done in a call-for-papers system, selected by the editorial board.
In the same project we still have space to promote reading, book launches, and also the classics – books that have become important references for Architecture.
filipa ramalhete + joao caria lopes