Dear Álvaro,

I wanted to update you on the latest with your archive. The collaboration between the CCA, the Serralves Foundation, and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation to provide online access to your archive has received quite a lot of attention in the press recently. When you donated your archive to us in 2014, you expressed the “desire that so many years of work can become useful in many ways, as a contribution to research and debate in architecture.” We haven’t forgotten this.

Our archivists are busy processing the material. As of last week, a further part of your archive is catalogued and accessible to researchers. Now, in addition to projects from your first couple of decades, the material from the Bonjour Tristesse and Punt en Komma housing featured in our exhibition Corner, Block, Neighbourhood, Cities, and lots of your sketchbooks, there are descriptions of urban planning projects like the reconstruction of the Chiado, the restoration of Campo di Marte, and the city centre of Montreuil, plus other works like Piscina de Marés. By the end of the year a full list of projects will be available online.

As I anticipated, Peter Testa will visit the CCA this spring, the first in a series of experts we’re inviting to help select collection material to be made accessible online. This program is called Find and Tell. We’ll ask him to make an argument about your work, select material to be digitized, then write an essay that will be published on our website. We don’t know yet what he’ll choose, but that’s the point. For us, digitization is a curatorial and editorial project, like our exhibitions and books; it’s not treated only from a technical point of view. We’ll invite other experts in the future who will offer different perspectives on your work.

Additionally, several scholars have already been here working on your archive in different capacities. Last summer we hosted two doctoral students whom you probably know. Miguel Eufrasia, from the University of Coimbra, is exploring your work, especially the housing, in terms of ecology; he examined your different approaches to site. Manuel Montenegro, a PhD candidate at ETH Zurich who is finalizing a dissertation on the School of Porto, primarily studied the precious black notebooks related to your Berlin housing projects and the School of Architecture of the University of Porto, among other drawings and sketches.

This summer Lina Malfona, an architect and scholar from La Sapienza in Rome, will be in residence investigating your social housing projects from the 1980s in Berlin and in The Hague. Like all of our visiting scholars, she will present her work in progress in a public seminar. Besides those we invite, we welcome many other researchers. The architect Nuno Grande, who teaches at the University of Coimbra, is here right now looking at your archive alongside those of James Stirling and Aldo Rossi.

Other archives have recently arrived that encourage new connections between your work and that of other architects, critics, and historians, and expand the scope of the collection geographically. Among them is the archive of Kenneth Frampton, as you know; but also a donation by the organization African Architecture Matters of libraries and archives of Dutch urban planner Coen Beeker, of German architect Georg Lippsmeier’s Institut für Tropenbau (IFT), and of IFT researcher Kiran Mukerji, focused on sub-Saharan architecture and planning from the 1960s to the 1990s.

I hope to see you soon, perhaps in Porto, New York, Montreal, or Venice. Speaking of which, did you see the nice text by Rafael Moneo about your Giudecca project? We published it on our website as part of A history of references.

This is just a quick report, but I think it’s too big to stay between the two of us.

Ciao,
Mirko

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