People, Places & Events
Julião Pinto Leite – WAF 22 brings the world to Lisbon’s flourishing architectural hub
Finding themselves at the centre of the architectural world is a proud moment for Portugal’s A&D practitioners. Partner at Lisbon’s OODA Architectural Design, Julião Pinto Leite feels he can for a time exercise his natural curiosity and wandering spirit without having to leave home. Sharing ideas, building partnerships and letting the spirit of enquiry go where it leads have been the basis of Julião’s and OODA’s practice. But Julião and his partners had to spend many years away from Portugal, in Julião’s case in Brazil then London, to gain experience and confidence. How nice to have the world come to you!
For Julião, having a sense of place is vital to creating buildings that really work for the people who use them. Only by striving for a deep understanding of context can an architect hope to create work that transcends the merely functional, and to reach for something that communicates and responds to its surroundings like a piece of art. In a country like Portugal, which has a long history but which finds itself in a phase of social renewal, this emphasis on how a building interacts with its inhabitants and their circumstances is part of that community renaissance.
Julião sees curiosity as the core quality that will drive the creative process towards truly successful outcomes. To harness and benefit from the individual curiosities of its 50 architects, OODA works as a collective, with no one’s ideas being judged better than anyone else’s. In his conversation with Karl Lennon at WAF in Lisbon, one gets a glimpse of Julião as a boy, as he describes himself happily playing with his building blocks, and of his studio today as just a group of playmates, all grown up but still curious about the world and eager to make their mark on it.