Jorge Figueira
University of Coimbra


Viewed from the “Southern Europe”, the theoretical/critical debate in the Anglo-Saxon world, in particular the ongoing debate at the American universities is perplexing. It is a world of opulence and loftiness, not in this case on the level of material wealth, but intellectual wealth. If we understand that the omnipresence of “critical theory” has an inhibitive effect on a sensory relationship with architecture, and that dichotomies such as critical/projective are schematic, the truth is that we need to leave behind atavisms that diminish the approach in “Southern Europe”: the local against the global; the space against the images; the young against the old.
Theory and criticism have much to gain from allowing themselves to be provoked by the unknown. I would like to concretise these ideas by revisiting two recent experiences: to the South, Cape Verde, and to the East, Macau. They are border situations of wealth and material prosperity in Macau; and of poverty and obstruction in Cape Verde. How are these territories read and criticised? The architecture we find there is outside the history based on the MoMA. In China one hears the echo of echoes, increasingly. In Africa, one can hear the distant resonance of those echoes. Where are we beyond “post-criticism”.

Europe, critical, theory, southern, Cape Verde, Macau, local, global



SAJ Vol. 3, 2011, No. 3