The 23rd of May was a day to celebrate biodiversity in the grounds of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, a lush park in the heart of Lisboa. Designed by landscape architect Gonçalo Ribeiro Telles in the late sixties, around an iconic building complex, the park holds several flora and fauna species, as well as a few sculptures, an amphitheater and a central pond. Two art museums and other art and cultural infrastructures are connected by several paths through the park, in a carefully designed and intricate network of art, leisure and nature. During the warmer weekends, Lisboetas flock to this public but safeguarded park seeking coolness, silence, outdoorsy leisure and a place to meditate.
The biodiversity day celebrations motivated several activities in the Gulbenkian grounds, including an Urban Sketchers Portugal sketch meeting. The job was to focus on flora alone. Not being a specialist, I chose my subjects by aesthetics alone. Would be nice to have a specialist insight on the species in the sketches. Volunteers anyone?
On the 21st of April, the Central Bank of Portugal, together with GECoRPA – A business organization dedicated to heritage, and ICOMOS – International Council on Monuments and Sites, held a full-day conference about the future of the Baixa Pombalina, the historical downtown of Lisboa, as a potential UNESCO world heritage site. The application process seems to be stuck in the meanders of political maneuvers and no one has the full picture as to what is actually going on. The conference’s mission was to put everything in evidence and in perspective to everyone involved directly or indirectly in this process. The contributions ranged from engineering and architectural specialists, showing studies and successful architecture designs, but also representatives from the political arena and historians and thinkers with some degree of knowledge about the matter at hand.
The core value of the Baixa Pombalina is that it was a landmark in the world’s urban design. It was a exemplary masterplan in the broader sense of the word, as it solved the housing problem for countless victims of the 1755 earthquake, managed to bring Lisboa’s center to the state-of-the-art cities club with a seismic-resistant prefab architecture design, established the terms for the city’s growth for centuries to come, and was planned with financial and political mechanisms that enabled it to be built and to endure for ages to come.
While the final goal – the application to take the Baixa Pombalina to the UNESCO council – remains fuzzy and distant, and in the hands of far too many variables (such as political shifts and economic winds of change), the gains to be had were a full grasp of the complexity of the matter to everyone present. A lot of students were there alongside professionals and bureaucrats, and it is possible that some of them might have something to say in the future on this matter.
There was still time for a quick tour to the future Museu do Dinheiro. Fitting for a building owned by the Central Bank of Portugal, except that the building is actually a former church in the heart of the Baixa Pombalina. Any conspiracy theorists out there?
Lundasylt is finally ready! It was prepared by Chef Bianca, from Biancas Kök and Teresa from Fruktsam with the help of dozens of volunteers. The fruit to make this delicious jam was picked from public places in and around Lund. Then, all the ingredients were prepared by the volunteers at Mötesplats Maggan. The cooking process also took part there. The laborious final part was filling the jars and tagging them with the labels that I designed. The whole process is described here.
The jam was sold out to the public in the Harvest Festival in Lund Stadsparken. Unfortunately I couldn’t be present at the festival to sketch or to help out with the sale. Patrícia was there on my behalf and took some pictures of the stand.