Wohnhaus Schlesisches Tor—also known as Bonjour Tristesse—in Berlin and Punt en Komma in The Hague are Álvaro Siza’s first built works outside his native Portugal. The two projects resemble one another in size, scale, program, and ambition: both were built in the 1980s, both are results of a distinct attitude towards the city, and both were social housing projects developed to accommodate immigrant communities through participatory design processes. Yet they are also remarkably different. They present local solutions to global questions about the reconstruction and densification of urban centres, reflecting and reviving the specific character of their respective locations, Berlin’s Kreuzberg and the Schilderswijk in The Hague.
In juxtaposing the two projects, the exhibition points to fundamental attributes and interests of Siza’s work—engagement and estrangement, the universal and the vernacular, the specificity of the generic and the monumentality of the ordinary. The exhibition also offers a first glance into Siza’s architectural archive, a large part of which he donated to the CCA in 2014 as part of a wider cooperation agreement with Fundação de Serralves in Porto and the Fundação Gulbenkian in Lisbon.
Curated by Eszter Steierhoffer, CCA. Graphic design by Sean Yendrys, New York / Montreal.