14 Mar

Interview with Frederico de Holanda

Frederico de Holanda is an architect graduated at the Federal University of Pernambuco, in Brazil, Master and Ph.D. in Architecture from the University of London. He has been an invited lecturer at academic events, both in Brazil and in other countries like China, Denmark, U.S.A, Spain, Holland, Japan, Mexico, Mozambique, Portugal, United Kingdom, Sweden and Uruguay. Book author monographic Brasília: cidade moderna, cidade eterna (Brasília: modern city, eternal city) – FAU /UnB. He was a Professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Brasilia from 1972 to 2010 and currently contributes as a mentor for the graduate program: masters and doctoral degree.

The interview of The Green Club this month features the participation of distinguished professor Frederico de Holanda, who answered some questions on that occasion.

Professor Frederico de Holanda

T.G.C.-Professor Frederico, you have a brilliant career, is an example for students and professionals in architecture and urbanism. What are the paths we must follow to achieve professional success?

Professor Frederico de Holanda-Discounting the generosity of observation, the important thing is to have an open mind and do not stick to the tenets of science and the profession. Only then we will move forward in knowledge and our practice. Maybe I point ou tmy big concern, as the things I’ve been writing and publishing reflect: Architecture is a social practice, which includes individual architects of renown whose contribution can not be overlooked, but includes an anonymous production of profound significance and culture that is, except a very few rare exceptions, out of architectural literature.

T.G.C.-UNB(National University of Brasília) has one of the most important faculties of Architecture and Urbanism of the country and you certainly contributed to that substance. What is your feeling about this?

Professor Frederico de Holanda-I’m glad to know that I have contributed to the production of knowledge that could be carried out under the Faculty, and gratitude for that, in the other words, the FAU / UnB given me throughout my career here – working conditions, stimulating intellectual environment, possibility of further education, research and professional growth etc. .. As may already know, I have just retired (2010) but still contribute to the postgraduate course and with guidance from masters and doctors. Even when I can (and want me there …).

T.G.C.-The city of Brasilia is a world reference, in 2009 completed 50 years, and you gave your contribution to the country writing the book ” Brasília – cidade moderna, cidade eterna (Brasilia: modern city, eternal city).” What is the future of this city?

Professor Frederico de Holanda-Judging by current trends, gloomy, but in an optimistic perspective, we can not give up keep fighting – as we have done for decades, all who recognize the great importance of the city – for better days, by overcoming the current problems , the recognition and disclosure that the qualities of Brasilia to refer to any urban spaces and times.

T.G.C.-You coordinates the Research Group “Dimensões Morfológicas do Processo de Urbanização – DIMPU (Morphological Dimensions of the Urbanization Process)”, could you tell us what the purpose of it?

Professor Frederico de Holanda-The group aims to contribute – and has contributed – to enhance the “way back” of architecture. Once done, what are its effects on us, and nature? We call to consider the architecture, scientific jargon, like “independent variable”. We found that the most current research in architecture does the opposite: try to understand economic and social processes which determine it. This is fundamental. On the other hand, equally or more important, is not considered as well: it is clear that once held? how it affects our lives? One thing is clear and obvious: it affects us, once ready. The task of research is not to discuss whether or not it affects us. This is an issue long been superseded. The task of the research is to find out HOW it affects us, what are the attributes responsible for what results.

Frederico de Holanda and group of doctors trained and guided by him: Franciney Frana, Sandra Mello, Ana Paula Borba and Valério de Medeiros, Stockholm, 2009.

T.G.C.-How, architects and planners can bring urbanity to our Brazilian cities, which grow wildly, and with serious problems of planning?
Professor Frederico de Holanda-Are not architects and planners who build cities – for good or for ill. This is an egocentric view of the profession that we must look with caution. These are values ​​and social forces to which they belong architects and planners, to whom they are allied, to which they contribute. Certainly there are individuals who have, at some point, the key contribution – and, again, these contributions can not be neglected. But we must understand why, at some point, they were able to contribute as they did. Brasilia is incomprehensible without the developmentalist ideology of the 1950s, and the hegemonic forces and social values ​​at the time. What we must do as citizens interested in improving our cities – and particularly as we are specialists – is to stay “tuned” to the forces and social values, and see what strengths and values ​​and which are progressive in order to associate a city better. And there is also a matter of planning or lack of it. It’s always good to remember that seldom planned both in this country during the military dictatorship … The question is: to plan for what? Then we returned to the issue of social forces, values, etc.

T.G.C.-What is the fundamental focus on training of students from the FAU-UNB?

Professor Frederico de Holanda-There’s no “one” focus, but “many” focus, in the plural, and that’s good. Yes, we can talk about trends and issues that have gained more importance lately, as the issues of appropriate technologies, development of new materials and recycling, the relationship between architecture and environment, the issue of city design (field in which our group has contributed historically) etc.. There is also a strong core of research on theory and history of architecture, has been strengthened recently.

T.G.C.-The Amazon is rich in biodiversity, but over the years is being degraded, human occupation and subsequent disorganized urbanization are responsible for a large portion of it. How the academies of architecture and urbanism can intervene in this process?

Professor Frederico de Holanda-The lines of research that I mentioned in my previous answer, could certainly contribute. I am no authority in the Amazon, so I can not dwell on the topic. There are excellent research groups work on developing about it. But I suspect anything that is a narrow conservatism that does not consider the economic potential of the forest, in fact, and has long since explored, and an environmentally sound manner, but in ways still not have the support that they should enjoy.

Frederico de Holanda, a group of doctors trained and guided by him (Franciney Frana,Sandra Mello, Rose de Lima) and his thesis supervisor, the English professor Bill Hillier in the congress of Space Syntax in Stockholm 2009.

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