Letter to Raul Lino : cultural identity in Portuguese architecture : the 'Inquerito' and the architecture of its protagonists in the 1960s
Cultural identity is an issue that has concerned Portuguese artistic thought in a subliminal way ever since the end of the XIX century, with influences in architecture. Raul Lino, at the beginning of the last Century, was one of those who tried in a conscious manner, to tackle this problem both at the practical and theoretical level. Nevertheless, he never lived to see the real meaning of his proposal fully understood, not even after the retrospective of his work in the 1970 Exhibition in Lisbon. The intention behind this "Letter" is to give continuity to the perspective first formulated by him, starting from the analysis of one of the most significant accomplishments in the history of the Portuguese architecture, the INQUERITO into vernacular architecture. Having guaranteed the importance of cultural identity versus architecture as the driving force of the research, via the testimonies given by a host of relevant personalities in Portuguese cultural life, and evaluated the antecedents and convergences of the identity issue, the research field was defined as well as the methodology. This is based on a qualitative model which rendered the investigation viable, enabling the echoes of the INQUERITO to be appreciated in the architecture of the 1960s. The INQUERITO is therefore the subject of analysis and evaluation, as an instrument of research into the unique Portuguese vernacular architecture. The erudite architecture of its "protagonists" is also evaluated using similar criteria to assess the concerns with identity issue, mostly of a qualitative nature, as a corollary to the sensitivity side of the same issue. Finally, the importance of the identity perspective gave rise to an attempt at projecting the findings onto the teaching of architecture, so as to improve on the necessary humanization of relationships between real places and all their actors.