Born out of the Portuguese revolution of 25 April 1974, the Serviço Ambulatório de Apoio Local (Local Ambulatory Support Service) was a pioneering architectural and political experiment designed to address extreme housing shortages and poor living conditions in Portuguese cities.

There was not only one SAAL: its initiatives and results varied widely depending on complex urban and social factors, from the “ilhas” (slums) of Porto and the periphery of Lisbon to the self-constructed homes in Algarve, in the far south. Although most SAAL projects were never fully built, the debates it prompted generated a new model of participation that affected thinking about urban planning and participation and spurred architects to re-examine their own social and political role, issues that continue to resonate forty years later. The exhibition brings together a selection of ten influential housing projects that reflect the diversity of SAAL procedures and approaches.

Curator: Delfim Sardo, Lisbon.
Scientific consulting: José Antonio Bandeirinha, Universidade de Coimbra.
Curatorial adaptation at CCA: Eszter Steierhoffer, CCA.
Graphic design: Marc Hollenstein, Amsterdam.
Organizers: Fundação de Serralves – Contemporary Art Museum, Porto, in collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal.

Selected objects

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