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Housing and the City: Álvaro Siza and James Gowan


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Housing and the City: Álvaro Siza and James Gowan
by Ellis Woodman and Manuel Montenegro
Edited by Helen Thomas
Soft cover, Z-fold binding, 240 × 320mm
72pp with 71 colour illustrations

As Ellis Woodman points out in his Introduction to this extensively illustrated discussion of the housing projects of Álvaro Siza and James Gowan, this publication frames an encounter between the work of two men who might be considered an unlikely pairing. However, both men were engaged in critical response to the tenets of the Athens Charter that they sought to resolve in their low-cost housing experiments of the 1960s and 70s. The implications of the different social, political and economic contexts in which they enacted this difficult task makes the juxtaposition of their work a fascinating and fruitful process of discovery.

Reflecting the spatial disposition of the Housing and the City exhibition held at the Architectural Association in 2017 and curated by Ellis Woodman and Manuel Montenegro, this book has two sides – hence its description as a Z-fold publication. The principal side introduces the content of four themed vitrines, and is accompanied by the narrative voice of Manuel Montenegro, distilled into text and accompanying a deliberately loose arrangement of drawings and archival material. Ellis Woodman and Tony Fretton add essential reflections on the context and characters of the housing projects, and of Álvaro Siza and James Gowan themselves, to frame these themes. On the other side, the four housing schemes around which the book is based are described in a more formal way, echoing the four large panels that introduced the original exhibition.

Published by Drawing Matter Somerset (2018)