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Fire Station in Moura (PT), 1979-1986

The international conference The Architecture of Need: Collective-Use Facilities and Community Service in the Twentieth Century is organised in the context of the initiative “Arquitectura Aqui – Community, Proximity, Action: Collective-use Facilities in Portugal and Spain 1939-1985”, an output of the research projects ArchNeed – The Architecture of Need: Community Facilities in Portugal 1945-1985 (national funds through Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, FCT, grant PTDC/ART-DAQ/6510/2020), based at CIDEHUS Interdisciplinary Centre for History, Culture and Societies, University of Évora, and ReARQ.IB – Built Environment Knowledge for Resilient, Sustainable Communities: Understanding Everyday Modern Architecture and Urban Design in the Iberian Peninsula (1939-1985) (funded by the European Research Council, ERC, under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant agreement 949686), based at DINÂMIA'CET-Iscte Centre for Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies, Iscte – University Institute of Lisbon. 


“Arquitectura Aqui. Community, Proximity, Action: Collective-use Facilities in Portugal and Spain 1939-1985” supports sustainable, resilient local communities with solid knowledge about the buildings and ensembles where our daily life unfolds. We follow the parallel, shared history of the Iberian countries from dictatorship to democratic transition and European integration, specifically looking at proximity structures devoted to welfare and medical care (health centres, homes), general and social services (council facilities, community centres, market halls), minimum-rent housing, security (fire and police stations), education (schools, creches), culture and leisure (museums, libraries, sports halls) and cooperative farming facilities. Originating in local and central initiatives, launched and supported by public and private entities with state technical support and funding, these structures often drew on non-governmental, philanthropic aid from foundations, groups and individuals with strong community links. 

“Arquitectura Aqui” integrates detailed information and critical thinking on such objects, key in potential management and transformation initiatives, while advancing scientific and historical knowledge on the architecture and urban design of Portugal and Spain and reinforcing the social relevance and pertinence of these fields. Our platform combines knowledge drawn from the archives with the memories and experiences of stakeholders, creators and users, testimony to generations of living histories, co-creating a new narrative, plural and shared, to empower appreciation, maintenance, and change. This is applied science for community participation enabling a more sustainable and resilient built environment.

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