Introduction and Q&A by architects Paulo Moreira and Pedro Clarke
The films gathered in this session address the particularities of the use of urban and architectural space in certain local cultures. The first two films are related by the geographical proximity of the scenarios that frame. There are a Tree on the Sidewalk and Learning by Doing , respectively, depict the Alexandra neighborhood in Johannesburg and the small country Lesotho, an enclave located in the west-central South Africa. Both films problematize the precarious material and urban conditions of the two places, largely as a result of States unable to plan the occupation of the territory.
In There’s a Tree on the Sidewalk, the social narratives that compose the documentary evidence the ways in which the population spontaneously appropriates space and solves problems of daily street use, often using home-building techniques or commercially occupying the public space.
In the documentary Learning by Doing , the problematic urban landscape is very similar, but now what is at stake is the ability of these remote and seemingly forgotten places to develop and promote social transformation. Given a picture of low rates of urbanization, high poverty rates and youth unemployment, how can the architect from outside be the agent of this transformation and still intervene to respect such specific cultural, economic and geographical conditions?
Flying Monks Temple investigates the relationships of cultural dialogue between architect and local community from a subjective perspective. The Lithuanian architect Austris Mailitis, in proposing a unique temple for the Shaolin Monks, on the Songshan Holy Mount in the Chinese province of Henan, has to deal with the challenge of communicating and negotiating his own architectural visions. The film is about how the architect stands before the translation of the client’s desire, in a relationship of great cultural difference, and yet remains intact in relation to the dream of performing his work.
There’s a Tree on the Sidewalk
Jonathan Pinkhard e Adam McConnachie
África do Sul South Africa, 2018, 12’
Learning by Doing
Lesoto Lesotho, 2018, 18’
Flying Monks Temple
Letónia, 2018, 56’