Porto Collage (from Dédalo magazine)
PORTO COLLAGE CONTEST: “FILLED URBAN SPACES“ IN A DIFFUSE CITY
CONCURSO PORTO COLLAGE: “CHEIOS URBANOS” NA CIDADE DIFUSA
DÉDALO MAGAZINE #06 CENTRIFUGAÇÃO
“… because collage is a method of deriving its virtue from its irony, because it seems to be a technique using thins and simultaneously disbelieving in them, it is also a strategy which can allow utopia to be dealt as image, to be dealt in with fragments without having to accept it in toto, which is further to suggest that collage the utopian illusion of changeless and finally, might even fuel a reality of change, motion, action and history.” 
According to the complexity of today’s city – increasingly difficult to diagram as something visibly ordered and cohesive – the collage technique emerges as a relevant approach for the urban analysis. From a figurative dissection, it allows centrifuging the various aspects of a given situation from aesthetics, functional, cultural, political or social order.
Max Ernst created the term collage in 1918. The relationship of this technique with architecture increased with the vanguards of the early twentieth century, assuming, since then, various forms as an instrument of representation, expression, ideological advertising and social satire.
Russian constructive montage illustrated utopian imagery, while the futurists extolled the velocity of their time. In the sixties, architects such as Archigram group, influenced by Pop Art, used a graphic image in which echoes of comics and television language enabled the discussion of ideas rather then objects. On the other hand, the situationists, by using text fragments, graphically mapped psycho-geographic boundaries of the living city. Nowadays, photomontages still are undoubtedly an essential tool for analysis and communication of project ideas and can also be and energetic means of provocation to enable a critic look over present times. The forgotten montages of Rem Koolhaas are examples of this, demonstrating a clear position against the satirical contemporary society.
According to the theme of the next edition, centrifugation, all areas outside the historic center of Porto are proposed as areas of study and intervention for the contest. The aim of this exercise is to critically discuss the city, taking doubt and certainties to the “peripheral” and diffuse area. The object of intervention, in opposition to what has happened in countless initiatives and contemporary international conferences (like in Trienal de Lisboa of 2007), does not target the Urban Voids. Remember that the Urban Voids were here defined as:
“expectant spaces, or more or less abandoned, or more or less delimited in the traditional city heart, or more or less undefined in diffuse peripheries. They’re traces of non-city, absent spaces, ignored or fallen in abandonment, alien or survivors of whichever means for structuring territory”. (in http://www.trienaldelisboa.com) Instead, this time it’s intended to discuss “Filled Urban Spaces” (in the diffuse and “peripheral” city). Not thinking about the expectant or abandoned spaces but in the built and constructed space, with relationships, laws, practices and (un)defined programs in the city. For various reasons, it’s observed that many of them are out of the urban dynamics in their socio-cultural and spatial spheres. They are the target for controversy and successive opinions and interventions. They’re difficult or even marginalized areas with high logic and structure deficits and/or simply maladjusted, expropriated or devalued. In this sense, we propose to generate a debate/crash of ideas about the virtues and potentials or the risks and losses of the most varied realities to the practice of contemporary architecture and consequent social welfare.
Aiming a healthy democratic debate and confront ideas and opinions, it appeals to the critic and subjective sense of each participant. It’s intended that each one critically evaluates the diffuse city and its new centralities, pointing out one or more susceptible area for possible criticism and intervention. Through a collage, participants must expose one critic/satire to the actual reality of the pointed zone and/or one alternative proposal to their actual condition.
Not trying to obey nor encourage to a merely functional analysis of the city, but in order to simplify and facilitate the evaluation of proposals, these will be organized in three distinct categories. Resulting from uses and existing programs in the urban organism, the three groups relate to: Housing, Equipment and Public Space. Given the possible programmatic plurality in the same area and/or intervention, the groups concern the predominance or concentrating identity of these universes. This way, we intend to call for the power of synthesis already when choosing the subject of analysis.
Dédalo gives the example of three possible areas of intervention: Bairro do Aleixo (Aleixo’s Housing Complex), the “Edifício Transparente” (Transparent Building, Equipment) and the bar in Cais de Gaia (Gaia Harbor, Equipment). Participants may participate simultaneously with distinct collages in all three categories or just one.
Category – Housing
GATED COMMUNITY OF ALEIXO
Welcome to the gated community of Aleixo. We have several luxury apartments, directly for middle-upper class, designed from the purest concept of the “Garden City” and with splendid views towards Douro river.
Category – Public Equipment
DREAM PLACE TO WORK ®
The national roads as well as other roads that access the city of Porto have the sole purpose to communicate and to access. The proposal consists in transforming the image of our highways; creating bridge-buildings that shelter public facilities mainly and approximate both separate shores. In fact, the national roads allotments have the tropospheric exclusivity, preventing the construction of these new structures, responsible for a sustainable spelling. We would need a new miracle!
Category – Public Space
THE PALM’S GIRL
“And did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts
Hot ashes for trees
Hot air for a cool breeze
How I wish you were here…”
WINNER OF PORTO COLLAGE
Category – Housing
THE BIG GAP
In 2009 the “Aleixo Village” feels threatened by the “Lux Village”, metaphorical title for gated communities of the surrounding neighborhoods.
An idea of contrast where we questioned about the passivity of the monochrome compared to the chromatic richness.
Dédalo is a publication which intend to be critical and interventional, thinking and exploring the questions raised on the fields of study and action of Contemporary Architecture. It was formed in 2006 by members of the University of Porto’s Architecture Faculty. It is a magazine with no lucrative ends and created with the will of thinking and acting.
From Dédalo’s website: http://cargocollective.com/dedalo
 ROWE. Colin. KOETTER, Fred. “Collage City”, p. 149, the MIT press, 1983.