The Beguiling Bureau
From outside come intermittent sounds, sifted through my inattention, fluid and scattered, like interleaving waves, as if they came from another world: the cries of street vendors selling natural things like cabbages or social things like lottery tickets; the rumble of wheels - jolting carts and wagons; cars, heard more in the approach than in there passing; shaking of something like a rag out of a window.
Fernando Pessoa, 1982
This project operates in the realm of magic realism and uses Fernando Pessoa’s literary concept of a Heteronym as a research mechanism providing a ‘thick description’ (Geertz 1973) of Alfama’s urban landscape and locals. Three main heteronyms are introduced to embody the multiplicity of Alfama analogously to the spatial issues identified. Alberto Caeiro; the retired local community Ricardo Reis; the working community and, Alvaro de Campos; the transient tourist. By translating Pessoa’s writings and merging my subjective experience of the spatial narratives in Alfama leads me to produce a series of drawings depicting each character. The characters voices are used to echo the difficulty of solving the issue of historic spaces like Alfama. The allegorical narrative of the charachters is portrayed through the architectural intervention.
Frascari enters Mollino's own dream through a vivid double dreaming condition: a drawing-within-another-drawing.The project takes inspiration from Mollino’s drawings . The architect takes Fernando Pessoa’s dream like landscapes and draws over them with another dream. Creating a dream within a dream.
The overall proposal put forward is a Library. The archetype of mystery and imagination. The Library represents a mandala, representing an unknowable reality that every person seeks to understand. In this way, the library acts as a vessel to re-imagine urban thresholds in Alfama for the purpose of a new platform for social engagement.