Urban Planning

Architecture Festival Returns on the First Weekend of July

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Miguel Nogueira

Under the theme '50 Years Building Freedom', Open House Porto returns for its ninth edition on 6 and 7 July. This year, the event will feature 34 premieres across 65 architectural spaces in the cities of Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia, Matosinhos and Maia.

'In the year we're celebrating 50 years of Democracy, Casa da Arquitetura [in Matosinhos] challenged the curators to think of model spaces in this democratisation construction process. [...] Architecture was an instrument for fulfilling the principles of Democracy', the executive director of Casa da Arquitetura, Nuno Sampaio, explained at the press conference presenting the programme.

This edition is curated by Teresa Novais and Margarida Quintã, who have devised a programme based on nine themes: Democracy, Housing, Education, Health, Culture, Mobility, Reuse, Ecology and Community.

Together with about fifty specialists and around 300 volunteers, the doors to public architectural initiatives from the last 50 years will open across the four Open House Porto cities. A range of activities aimed at all audiences will be promoted by the Educational Service of Casa da Arquitetura and various partners who wished to join the architecture festival.

Among the 34 architectural spaces premieres that can be visited for free over the two days, 14 are in the city of Porto: the Porto Municipal Gallery, the M-odu (Former Porto Slaughterhouse), the recreational area of the Paediatric Wing of São João Hospital, the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto, the Prelada Cooperative City, the Álvaro Siza Wing of the Serralves Museum, the Pasteleira Red Towers, the Campanhã Healthy Corridor, the Ventura Terra University Residence, the Massarelos Housing Cooperative, the exterior rehabilitation of Monte da Bela Neighbourhood, the Alexandre Herculano Secondary School, the Monte dos Judeus stairs, and the Pink Line of Metro do Porto.

As for the 'repeated' venues, the list includes 18 venues in the city: Porto City Hall, Almeida Garrett Municipal Library, Mercado do Bolhão, Campanhã Intermodal Terminal, Old Town Hall (Torre dos 24), Faculty of Economics of the University of Porto, i3S - Institute for Research and Innovation in Health, Aldoar Cooperatives, Campo Alegre I University Residence, Casa da Música, São Cirilo Community Centre, Porto Higher Art School, House 61 - Bouça Neighbourhood, House 44 - Bouça Neighbourhood, D. Margarida Sousa Dias Hostel, São Vitor Island, the public washhouses, toilets and baths of S. Nicolau, and the Guindais Funicular.

This 9th edition will feature three types of visit: free tours, tours accompanied by over 300 volunteers, and tours where 50 experts (including architects, historians and teachers) will explain the buildings to visitors, covering both exterior and interior aspects.

The Open House Porto is organised and produced by Casa da Arquitetura in a strategic partnership with the municipalities of Porto, Vila Nova de Gaia, Matosinhos and Maia. It is a unique event worldwide where four cities come together as a single territory for the festival. Since its inaugural edition in 2015, the event has recorded over 180,000 visits.