Why an architectural guide?...

The reasons that motivated the elaboration of this guide were essentially practical ones.

To us, visiting architectural works in loco has always been a need, a pleasure, and why not say it: an addiction.

Although, whenever we returned from the countless trips, whose objective was to see architectural works, we discovered that we had spent half of our time looking for them!...

If the trip had a specific city as its destiny, with a little luck, it was sometimes possible to find guides with small maps but, if the trip was done with an entire country in mind, the information provided in the guides would be very little more than listed addresses.

That lack of information becomes catastrophic, as it is very frustrating for someone with little time, not to see all that is desired, and finds ones-self forced to travel many kilometers under stress to search for certain Works.

I recall a trip to Switzerland, with the intent to essentially get to know the works by Herzog & De Meuron and Peter Zumthor, and having spent an entire morning looking for the Rémy Zaugg studio, a small building by Herzog & De Meuron, that although widely published, no one in the proximities seemed to know of because it was an enclosed private property. It’s true that a GPS would have been helpful, but its use was not yet common in 2002.

It was through sheer luck that we managed to find the street. Enthusiastic we rang the doorbell, and the Rémy Zaugg himself came to the gate of the property. We explained that we had come from Portugal, and had spent the whole morning looking for the studio, with the intent to visit it. Zaugg kindly lamented the fact and then informed us that it would not be possible to visit the studio. Although disappointed, we understood the situation and left.

It was three in the afternoon and in April, in Switzerland, the day does not allow for many more hours of light. With the intent to make the most of those hours, we decided to visit a building we discovered in a Swiss architectural guide, located just a few kilometers away. The building’s authors were unknown and the photos quite unclear, making it impossible to determine whether it would be worth the visit. Nevertheless, we risked it. 

Standing before the building that seemed to be the one in the guide, we were disappointed, as it happens more often than desired. To waste time this way is inglorious! As you can imagine frustration was high: it had been a useless day. 

It was on that very day, however, amidst a good cup of coffee, that we came to the idea of developing an architectural guide that would efficiently respond to the yearnings of those who enjoy visiting architectural works: a guide with good works or at least worthy of a quick visit, with enlightening photographs (not photos of artistic intent, those find their place in other publications), with information regarding the type of possible visit available, with well drawn maps and GPS coordinates. A trustworthy and practical guide, that not only contained a selection of works, but compiled some information that helped contextualize them in time and space. 

Yes, that would be a perfect guide for Portugal. A country that possesses excellent architectural works is visited by thousands of architects from all over the world and had no publication of this kind yet.