Southern Modernisms

Modernismos do Sul

Southern Modernisms

design em portugal

Reference: EXPL/CPC-HAT/0191/2013
Funding  institution: FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia
Starting date: March 1st 2014
Ending date: 2015

This project explores the possibility of a critical revision of early modernism’s prevailing definition – its stylistic focus, its formalist and anti-representative bias, as well as its autonomic assumptions; or, as far as architecture is concerned, its functionalist credo – through the hypothesis that southern European modernisms were committed to their entrenchment in popular culture (folk art and vernacular architecture) in a way that anticipates some of the premises of what would later become known as critical regionalism (Feivre e Tzonis, Frampton).
It is our purpose to explore a research path that parallels key claims on modernism’s intertwinement with bourgeois society and mass culture (Clark, Crow), by way of questioning the idea that there is but one kind of aesthetically significant regionalism – the kind that resists to the colonization of international styles and is supported by critical awareness –, and that it occurred in the context of postmodernist architecture.
This research project is set up on the basis of case studies drew from Spanish (specially Catalans), Italian and Greek contexts, even though Portuguese modernism of the 1st 3 decades of the 20th century is the centerpiece for questioning the initial hypothesis.


Main Research Area
Cultures and Cultural Production – Art History


Secondary Research Area
Cultures and Cultural Production – Art Studies


Art theory
Critical regionalism


Funding    € 37,296.00


Main Contractor
Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas (FCSH/UNL)
Participating Institutions
Cooperativa de Ensino Superior Artístico do Porto, CRL (CESAP)
Main Research Unit
Instituto de História da Arte (IHA/FCSH/UNL)


Principal Investigator
Joana Esteves da Cunha Leal
Mariana de Lemos Pinto dos Santos
Maria Helena Teixeira Maia
António de Padua Remesar Betlloch
Alexandra Trevisan da Silveira Pacheco
Maria Alexandra Marques Ferreira Rodrigues Cardoso
Sílvia Leonor Faria da Silva Lucas Vieira de Almeida
Research fellows
Begoña Farré Torres
Joana Couto


Avaliação Final FCT | Final evaluation FCT
*** Recomendação do Coordenador ***
“A – Relatório Final APROVADO”
 “Os objectivos científicos previstos foram plenamente atingidos. Os resultados evidenciam grande qualidade científica, nomeadamente ao nível das publicações em revistas internacionais com referee. O projecto contribuiu para a formação de jovens investigadores e para a projecção internacional da equipa envolvida.”
 “This project of international scope, coordinated by Joana Cunha Leal, involving the researchers Alexandra Cardoso, Alexandra Trevisan, Antoni Remesar, Maria Helena Maia, Mariana Pinto dos Santos and Silvia Vieira de Almeida, and the scholarship students Begoña Farre and Joana Couto, set out to explore and review the dominant definition of Modernism, in the light of its stylistic components and self-referentiality, formal autonomy and representation abandonment, using artistic ‘cases’ of the 20 and 30’th years of the last century in the field of Catalan architecture, and also the Greek, Italian and Portuguese architecture, based on the thesis that “modernism of southern Europe” potentiated indeed a rooting in the vernacular culture in the light of the so-called “critical regionalism”. The scientific results of the project in terms of the conferences, publications with ‘referee’ in dedicated journals, and scientific conference proceedings, among others, show high quality and correspond, in general, the targets set in the project. Noteworthy is, in short, in the light of the results data to the press and congress that took place under his aegis, the cross-disciplinary nature of this research, which joined the History of Art and Architecture in Documentary Photography, the heuristic search of written sources published or handwritten, and Art Criticism and other historiography, a sense of cross-cutting approaches, to better understand and characterize the artistic creation and the visual culture of the times in question and the geographical areas studied. Thus contributed through scientific publications and international conferences that produced, and that the report lists the duly problematize the concept and practice of Modernism from their understanding and their experiences in Southern Europe.”
*** Membros do Painel de Avaliação Final – Estudos Artísticos ***
(Coord.) João Mário Lourenço Bagão Grilo (Universidade NOVA de Lisboa)
António de Sousa Dias de Macedo (IPA – Instituto Superior Autónomo de Estudos Politécnicos)
António João Carvalho Cruz (Instituto Politécnico de Tomar, Escola Superior de Tecnologia)
António Pinto Ribeiro (Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian)
Elisa Maria Maia Silva Lessa (Universidade do Minho)
Filipe Marcelo Correia Brito Reis (Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa)
João Filipe Soutelo Soeiro de Carvalho (Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas – Universidade NOVA de Lisboa)
José Alberto Simões Gomes Machado (Centro de História da Universidade de Évora)
Sofia Inês Ribeiro Lourenço da Fonseca (Universidade Católica- Escola das Artes-CITAR/ Instituto Politécnico do Porto – ESMAE)
Vitor Manuel Guimarães Verissimo Serrão (Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa)



Imagem site Modernismos do Sul
Website do projecto “Modernismos do Sul”
Livro Southern Modernisms: from A to Z and back again. Coord. Joana Cunha Leal, Maria Helena Maia e Begoña Farré Torras
E-book Southern Modernisms. Critical stances through regional appropriations. Conference Proceedings. Coord. Joana Cunha Leal, Maria Helena Maia e Begoña Farré Torras
19-21 Fevereiro 2015 – Conferência Internacional Southern Modernisms. Critical stances through regional appropriations – ESAP, Porto
Modernismos do sul - seminário de outubro
 17-18 Outubro 2014 – Modernismos do Sul/Southern Modernisms October Seminar – FCSH/NOVA, Lisboa