Understanding cities always implies a distant and global look but through these initiatives it is possible to have a complete insight into some of the city's key areas that left a mark in the history of its architectonic creation and urban planning.
On a different level, if the visit to the buildings encompasses an enlarged time period, the typologies are selected among the most significant, that decisively leave a mark on the city, whether they're renovations or interventions from scratch: palaces, public buildings, infrastructures, engineering work, private houses, churches or gardens.
The Serra Henriques Foundation is the institutional partner of Open House Porto, organized by Casa da Arquitectura in collaboration with the municipalities of Oporto, Gaia and Matosinhos. It is one of the most important cultural enterprises of that metropolitan area. Founded in London by Victoria Thornton, Open House takes place all over the world, in cities such as Barcelona, New York, Rome or Buenos Aires.
The idea is simple: for a weekend, grant free access to hundreds of spaces throughout the cities - buildings from different periods and typologies - by means of programmes with guided tours or the so-called neighbourhood strolls. This way, the public has the chance to discover timeless spaces or cultural patrimony that is normally off-limits.
For the 2017 edition, the 1st and the 2nd of July were the chosen dates and the catalogue gathers an eclectic set of buildings - both regarding the period they belong to and their use - at the same level as the urban diversity and its more recent mutation.
Cities started to develop from isolated and occasional initiatives of varied scale, suggesting routes, atmospheres and experiences in the interstitial spaces. There is, hence, a relationship of proximity between most of the examples chosen that allows for the understanding of the influence of these interventions on the street, the neighbourhood, the block, the parish. This is even more so the greater the tourist pressure and the interest of the real estate sector in the historic cores, for the need to offer new views over a region and the need to find new areas for its transformation.