According to Brazilian standards, Porto Alegre, with its 1.3 million inhabitants, is just a medium-sized city. In fact, everything there seems to be moderate: temperate climate, middle-class residents, regular levels of education, in short, an average city. Suddenly, in 2008, the city awakes from its usual ordinariness to an unusual event: the inauguration of an art museum dedicated to a local painter, Ibere Camargo. But a museum with a difference: a museum designed by Alvaro Siza, the Portuguese architect winner of the 1992 Pritzker Prize, one of the world’s “starchitects”, as Nicolai Ouroussoff, the New York Times architectural columnist, calls today’s global stellar names in Architecture. The project, even in its earlier blueprint stages, won the Golden Lion of the 8th Biennial of Architecture in Venice, 2002.
Besides fulfilling many of the varied range of functions that modern museums are expected to perform nowadays, this new building adds an interesting set of innovative roles in terms of placemaking and placemarketing, much in line with what Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim museum did for the city of Bilbao, Spain. Certainly, innovative roles can be immediately associated to the ‘starchitecture’ condition of the building, but, at any rate, the single manifestation of a new phenomenon in the area of museum studies deserves, per se, a more attentive investigation.
The present paper focuses on the important implications that the opening of a museum like this new one is able to bring about in terms of communicational and educational consequences, and intends to deepen a little further on the multiple roles museums can exercise in contemporary urban environments. In methodological terms, the text will approach the comprehensiveness of a museum under three major dimensions: (i) the role museums play on the Perception of the built environment; (ii) their role in creating places, in the Urbanism sphere; (iii) the role their images play in the issuing of Urban Planning strategies.
|Keywords:||Iconic Architecture, Branding, Placemaking and Placemarketing, Environmental Perception, Concept of Place|
Professor (Retired) and Researcher, PROPAR-Research and Postgraduate Programme in Architecture, UFRGS-Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
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