EVENT: Lecture: Culturalists or Progressists? Urban dilemmas of the second half of the 19th century. Online, April 2021
Speaker: Nuno Grande
In the introduction text to her 1969 book The Modern City: Planning the 19th Century, Françoise Choay quotes Fernand Braudel: ‘We are essentially children of the 19th Century, however passionate our revolts
or disavowals, however profound our discouragement’. In the book, the French historian establishes a stimulating dichotomy between two urban models in debate throughout the second half of that century: the ‘culturalist model’ which mistrusted the city as a mass production, looking nostalgically at the pre-industrial urbanity; and the ‘progressive model’ which believed in the urbanizing power of industrialization, in favour of the city’s expansion or reform. This lecture analyses some of the key figures of this thought-provoking debate and its impact on the transformation of cities as different as London, Paris, Vienna, Barcelona, Lisbon or Porto (the later a peculiar case-study of that dichotomy). The main purpose is to understand, after all, how the concepts of Culture and Progress became complementary in the definition of the nineteenth-century urban culture.
Nuno Grande is an architect, critic, curator and Associate Professor at the University of Coimbra (DARQ/UC). He obtained his degree in architecture at the University of Porto (FAUP, 1992) and his PhD at the University of Coimbra (2009), where he became a researcher at the Social Studies Centre (CES). He is also the coordinator of CoimbraSTUDIO – the PhD programme on Architecture at the University of Coimbra. He curated international exhibitions: at Porto 2001 and Guimarães 2012, both European Capitals of Culture; at the Lisbon Architecture Triennale, in 2007; at the São Paulo Architecture Biennale, in 2007; at the
Portuguese Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale, in 2016; at Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, in Paris, in 2016; at the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, in Porto, in 2019. He is the author of several books and essays on Portuguese Architecture, in Portugal and abroad.
The event will take place online at 16:30 GMT+1, 21 April 2021. It can be accessed here.