City Cortex

The intersection between contemporary urban contexts and one of the most versatile and sustainable raw materials Nature has to offer: Cork.

City Cortex is a cultural research programme that explores the intersection between contemporary urban contexts and one of the most versatile and sustainable raw materials Nature has to offer: cork. It views the city as a living and dynamic organism, and looks into the challenges of the 21st Century, where issues such as safety, protection, social cohesion, comfort, enjoyment, participation, sustainability and resource management are absolutely essential.

Through the contributions of internationally recognised architects and designers, City Cortex seeks to create original projects for public and semi-public spaces in various cities. Taking the metropolitan area of Lisbon as the starting point of this research through in situ experimentation, the participants reinvent and test the possibilities of using Portuguese cork and its transformation industry, aiming to surpass its current limits.

The studios invited to launch the research are Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Eduardo Souto de Moura, Gabriel Calatrava, Leong Leong, Sagmeister & Walsh and Yves Béhar.

Lisbon and Trafaria

The projects will be presented along the riverside areas on the north and south banks of the River Tagus, namely in Belém (Lisbon) and Trafaria (Almada).

Belém is a Lisbon borough of great importance in the city's history, known for its historic monuments, riverside walks and links with the south bank of the river.

On the other side of the Tagus is Trafaria, a small and distinctive urban cluster in the municipality of Almada, a town that has always been part of the history and importance of the Portuguese capital. Trafaria has been home to important industries and activities related to the river, and has also been a bathing and leisure destination.

By interacting with the urban landscapes of these two different locations in Greater Lisbon, City Cortex seeks to materialise not only the historical legacy of this region in the production and proliferation of cork in Portugal and the world, but also the relational dynamics between these two regions united by the river.

City Cortex focuses essentially on:

  • Expanding the use of an extraordinary, sustainable and natural raw-material within urban contexts;
  • Paving the way for a broader consciousness about sustainability and the development of urban contemporary landscapes;
  • Inspiring innovative thinking, marked by ideas and intersections that offer a positive and useful contribution to our living experience as a social community and interaction with the natural world.

Besides exploring the potential of the material itself, this programme also strives for a playful user experience, transforming the communal urban space into a playground, a space for multidisciplinary and multicultural interactions.

Produced by Amorim, with the production support of ArtWorks, and curated by Guta Moura Guedes.

City Cortex is produced by Amorim and has the production support of Artworks. Curated by Guta Moura Guedes and developed by experimentadesign, the results of this programme will be presented to the public in Belém and Trafaria on 6 June 2024 . A complementary book about the projects will be published and launched in September 2024 in New York.

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