Posted by: neuzona | June 2, 2008

the fable of the “Monster & the Midget”

To introduce myself, I will start by giving my actual first name because no one in Scotland knows it; my first name is Neuza and the second is Patricia.

I decided to keep it simple went I first came to Dundee, as it might have been more difficult to say and spell my name to people … then, some people started calling me Miss Portugal J

I grew up in a really nice place, called Sesimbra, which is half an hour’s travel from Lisbon city centre. Sesimbra is a small tourist/fisherman’s village. Although, during the week, I always spent my days in Lisbon, I would always come back to Sesimbra at night and at weekends. Sesimbra is a nice relaxing place full of tourists all year round and most of the locals are very nice and friendly. The village has not changed too much throughout the ages and it still has medieval streets, which are picturesque and famous throughout southern Europe. What I like most about where I grew up is the fact that people are very respectful as regards the environment, the sea and the nature park behind the village. During the summer, for example, to avoid fires in the countryside, people volunteer and others offer money to pay locals or students to man lookout posts, in order to report any suspicious activity regarding fire-raising or anything else that might damage the environment.

The reasons for this do not relate to locals being entirely idealistic but more to the fact that the people depend on a good environment, in order to survive! Their businesses and their income come from the nature park or from the sea and from the tourists these attractions draw.

On the other hand, within half an hour we can be in the centre of Lisbon. For those who never been to Lisbon, you would love it… the place is full of history, traditions but also has an eclectic mixture of new and vibrant things that characterise modern times… you can be walking along a historic 500 year street or viewing an ancient building, yet, under your feet, there will be a glass floor, through which you can see evidence of the Roman Empire and one step on, you will see a big modern building.

Lisbon had to be rebuilt in the 18th Century.due to the big earthquake that destroyed almost the all of the city. The Marques do Pombal was the governor of the time and he was responsible for creating the new city urban development. He was a man of vision and even today, his concepts are still considered to be of value and pertinent, for example, the big avenue in the city centre, which, at the time was criticised as being too big, with 3 or 4 lanes in either direction. Today, this concept makes traffic circulation very much easier in the city centre. He basically created an epiphany of the glorious Portuguese Period of Discovery designing the city historicals square “Praca do Comercio” open to the sea.

The new urban peripheries of the Lisbon of the 18th Century were designed to run towards the river, reflecting the words of the famous Portuguese poet, Vasco da Gama, who wrote a book of poems celebrating the Portuguese conquests of the 15th Century. Not the most exciting part of a Portuguese pupil’s life!!

To resume, my background is full of contrasts and differences, all conflicting on a daily basis…I would take to hours to get to my preview at University and a further 2 hours to get home. I would pass the same places every day for years, yet, every day I would see something different “ If you can Look, see, If you can see, observe” (Portuguese saying). Every day, I would notice different things; a different detail on facades or windows, sculptures… Roman capitols and I would make quick sketches, reflecting my feelings and the things I had seen…sometimes I would write a poem … I was trying to digest the city in which I was born. The contradictions of places in a place such as Lisbon, are full of intensities, memories, intentions, good or bad. This makes me realise that in life, being different is not always easy, neither is it good or bad, it is simply different!

I hope, in my Unit Research, to develop a final product of a theoretical house for a “ Monster and a Midget”, on a sloping site adjacent to the old romantic “Se”or Cathedral, which acts as a circulation with 50 steps or more, typical of southern European countries. This site has an incline of 2.5m and is surrounded by possibly 17th or 18th Century buildings, which now provide residential accommodation.

The idea is to maintain the circulation between the two different streets, at the same time as creating an entrance for this unique house.

I WILL CLAIM THIS TERRYTORY AS MY OWN AND CREATE ON IT AN EPIPHANY OF THE RESUME OF MY EXPERIENCES IN MY CITY OF LISBON.

THE CONTRACTIDIONS … THE ERRORS … THE ATTITUDES … THE INTENTIONS … THE PAST … THE FUTURE … THE INTENSITIES OF BODIES … THE SEX … THE DRUGS … THE PEOPLE … THE DOGMAS … THE PRECONCEPTIONS … THE EXPERIENCES … THE LIFE … THE PEOPLE … THE NATURE … THE ENVIROMENT … THE PRESENT … THE SPACES … THE TENSION … THE BIG … THE SMALL … THE TIME … THE BETWEEN … THE HISTORY … THE MEMORIES … THE SMELL … THE NOISE … THE URBAN SPRAWL … THE FABLE OF THE …“MONSTER ….and the… MIDGET”…

…A CITY BUILT TO SCALE, TO FEET

MAYBE TO SOMEONE!

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