The Rest is Silence

Manuel Aires Mateus 

I believe it was John Cage who once told me, “When you start working, everybody is in your studio – the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas – all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you’re lucky, even you leave.” (Philip Guston)

With an entity and identity of its own, the project develops into a process of discovery and exploration that produces unique and unrepeatable results. 

We would be unable to say what architecture is, not even what each project is going to be. We know that every project has a condition of its own, unique and unrepeatable. In many cases, such conditions resemble one another, but they are never the same.

A project is born from an intention, from a place, from a desire, from a memory, from an image, from an ambition. It is born to start a path. A path that is sometimes straight and others winding. It is born creating its own path, its own evidence.

The project is born from what we have already learned, but also from what we still don’t know, from what we long for. Many times, it is born from the revelation of what we already knew but was concealed. The project is a path of understanding, of discovery.

The project creates its own field of possibilities. It does so by walking, accompanying us, exposing us, and validating our decisions. Our job is to make it possible for each condition to grow freely.

However, this unrepeatable circumstance stems from that which feels close to us, what seems familiar to us, and what we know well. From things forever immersed in life, in the everyday.

Doors, windows, ceilings, floors are the letters we write with. Elements that must be our own, because poetry shouldn’t be written in foreign language, only in the mother tongue. The project combines memory and discovery, or the discovery of memory. A path that gradually integrates all the factors of life, real, physical or cultural, choosing in the process those that give an answer that the project itself legitimizes.

The project brings the amazement of discovery, unique and unrepeatable. It is a task that compels to always start from zero. A task that is accessible, attentive, free, charged with disciplinary knowledge but close to life. We focus our effort on understanding and combining all things, all the specificities, in search of difference: the only thing that can give each project its true identity. 

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