CEAA - Centro de Estudos Arnaldo Araújo





Revista PPA - Progreso, Proyecto, Arquitetura


Recepção de artigos até 30 setembro 2022



During the 20th century, the circumstances were ripe for stage experiences and architectural manifestations that conceived space as a meaningful system and raison d’être, respectively, to emerge and work hand-in-hand. The first avant-gardes in the theatre sought to bring the actor closer to the audience, breaking the fourth wall of the stage box. At the same time, architectural avant-gardes designed numerous innovative buildings that backed up the renewal of the theatre, one that had begun in the previous century and was influenced by the popular culture and orientalism. In this direction, they restructured the traditional relationship between the stage and the audience with multiple variations, although with a greater inclination to the central stage.

For their part, the second avant-gardes, advocates of an artistic counterculture, wanted to surpass these “hard” models of architecture, in various directions. They took on board the spatial repercussions of the participation of the viewer by advocating a “soft” architecture, in both a figurative and a literal sense, that contained unitary spaces, transformable and versatile, to allow freedom in the positioning of actors and the relative positioning between the stage, or stages, and the audience, even going so far as to mix them together; they also left the bourgeois theatre building in search of new places that would characterise the dramatic action, finding the answer in popular culture, nomadism, the environment, and the city.

In parallel to the metamorphosis of theatrical architecture in both periods, the change in the type of representations took place with the passage of the primacy of painting, characteristic of inherited scenography of curtains and backdrops, to the spatial conception of the first avant-gardes with their scenic designs and stagings involving machines and performing apparatuses in accordance with other dramaturgies. With them, an interior and ephemeral architecture was achieved that led to taking on experimental challenges and artistic risks on stage. The path continued towards an essential and stripped-down performance space, characterised by space and light, in which container and stage were identified with the consequent disappearance of the latter’s autonomy.

The introduction of mechanisation and high technology provided the necessary means to achieve the flexibility of space necessary for each performance, venue and audience. However, it is clear that the Italian-style stage (proscenium) has survived because of the long life of the buildings, just as it has managed to maintain the magic of the illusion that it offered by incorporating these advances in the operation of the rigid stage box and light, leading to a rethinking of its approach. In addition, for some time now, the inclusion of the image in all its manifestations has enriched the theatrical event. But, although confidence in these technological means has boosted creation, we must not forget the danger of their excesses if they do not enter into communion with the other significant systems that are properly theirs.

Faced with the clear and powerful exterior volume of Le Corbusier’s boîte à miracles and the catharsis of Brook’s empty stage, today it is worth asking, looking at history, when, where or at what level architecture and the performing arts can be combined, and reviewing them together to establish a framework for common reflection based on design problems and case studies of dramaturgical, performative and architectural experiences. Likewise, what is the role of the spatial conception in the drama stage at the three scales of intervention: city, building and stage, or how do theatrical devices work to frame the stage event and welcome the public, as well as the staging and the modes of representation they facilitate?

It is necessary to ask how, why and for what/whom theatres are built today; if we can speak of places and theatrical staging fatigued in the face of a complex society abducted by digital media, or if in the face of the scene inserted in unconventional buildings for this activity and in the city, the only alternative for architectural intervention is to take refuge in stagings. In short, this call invites us to explore the territories of the spatial configuration in which performance is developed and perceived, and to see the potential of the space of drama to inspire renewed creative paths in the dramatic and spatial consciousness of the performing arts.

Drama spaces encompasses both the architecture «of the stage» and «on the stage» from its recent history, which comprises the theatrical architectural heritage and the stage productions of the 20th century. The first established environment can also be approached from the typology of its buildings: directional, central, annular, linear; from the nature of its space: uni-functional or multi-functional, transformable, mobile, etc.; from its use: the occupation and transformation of real non-theatrical spaces or objects; from its location: the urban scene, the representation in a specific place (Site-Specific Performance), etc. The second environment can also be approached from the role of «visible» materials (form, movement and light) for the spatial conception of the staging; from the interactions between stagecraft or stage mechanism and the performing arts; from avant-garde and experimental approaches to the sensorial and motor aspects of the stage; from the incorporation of the static, moving and three-dimensional image (photographic, cinematographic and digital), its spatialisation on the stage and its interaction with the performance.

Articles will be welcome in the line of this exposition, which values space as a main component, including the space where the representation takes place, that of the content of the stage set design and that of their perception, whether they are segregated or merged. To the extent desirable, articles may be accompanied by the necessary graphic support to clarify the concepts and places explained in the text.  Excluded from the call are approaches to possible characteristics of architecture, such as the stage design quality of any building or environment in reality and functional programmes specialised in music; the relationship between the real space of the theatre and the fictitious and psychological places evoked in a specific work; artistic installations without human intervention in their staging; as well as the possibilities of performance and reception viable through technological means of transmission, but without the direct and live ritual of actors and spectators.  

Authors of the call for papers and editors of the issue:

Josefina González Cubero, dra. Arquitecta, profesora Titular de Universidad. ETS Arquitectura, Universidad de Valladolid. Investigadora del IUU (ES) y del CEAA (PT).

Jorge Palinhos, dr. en Estudos Culturais, escritor, dramaturgo, profesor de Escola Superior Artística do Porto, CESAP. Investigador del CEAA (PT).

Email about of call for papers: josefina.gonzlezcubero@gmail.com

More information here