Theses defended

Bartolomeu Costa Cabral, arquiteto da continuidade

Mariana Couto

Public Defence date
November 12, 2020
Doctoral Programme
Doutoramento em Cultura Arquitectónica e Urbana
João Paulo Providência
An evident gap emerges in the knowledge on the architectural production of Bartolomeu Costa Cabral, a prolific Portuguese architect whose professional activity began in the 1940s and extends into the present. This dissertation proposes an approach to Costa Cabral's architectural position - a concept developed by Royston Landau - addressing his individual and inviolable principles of decision. This assessment takes place through an interpretation of the architect's words and works, that, we argue, are closely related to the striking debates of his formative years in the 1940s and 1950s.

Starting with a reading of the cultural framework of Cabral's formative years and observations on his path to the present, this dissertation focuses on words written and spoken by the author over time and ten of his works to build a comprehensive reading of his positioning, in order to open up new research perspectives.

In his words and works, we find an underlying intention of continuity. We understand this concept in its various senses: the continuity of an architecture which is modern, seeking liberation from preconceptions, and humanist, centered on the interpretation of human needs, such as relationships; the continuity of building technologies and "ways of life" reflected in constructions of the past; spatial continuities. These continuities are, nevertheless, integrated into a broader search for historical continuity-that is, the establishment of relationships with buildings of the past to learn their lessons in light of current knowledge and needs, seeking answers to present-day problems rather than superficial copying of forms. This search for historical continuity, anchored in reason, reflects the continuity of human experience itself and a deep desire for permanence.

Key words: Bartolomeu Costa Cabral, Portuguese architecture, continuity