The Passenger

architects EMBAIXADA arquitectura
project Casa dos Cubos, Tomar, Portugal
written by Ricardo Carvalho


A Paradox

Since the early nineties it has been usual, in Portugal, to see architectural competitions demanding the preservation of buildings, from the most varied epochs and cultural matrices. But not the continuity of occupation, or occupations, that the buildings have had.  On the contrary. Architects have been asked, in quite diverse ways, to conceive the adequacy of such architectures for new uses closer to contemporary culture, for their needs, aspirations and desires. If in old monasteries, convents or factories this possibility is enrolled in the space matrix – today we call it flexibility, Aldo Rossi called it permanence of the form – in buildings of the most common typology, this change of programme can mean the loss of meaning of the original building, and in a limited situation, reveal it as inadequate for the use that is intended for it.