The side of a narrow staircase offers ample space for a row of plant pots. They have been placed by residents of Álvaro Siza Vieira's Bouça complex in Cedofeita. Early afternoons, steep sunlight falls onto the passage leading south from Lapa metro station. Two years ago, someone spray-canned an arrow on its side, and the word Plantas, plants. Stating the obvious carries with itself a moment of creation: by pointing out the evident, a discourse about the evident is initiated. Over time, additional affirming notes have been added, in gold can, in blue and black marker – fading echoes of the original, an endearing game of intervention for weeks and months. Today, on a cold and sunny day in February, the simulacrum remains, in anticipation of new buds, and new discourses.
Small glass-enclosures mark the entrance of these buildings. They are semi-functional micro-lobbies, part greenhouse, part staircase. they are clad in travertine or marble, hard surfaces in any case, integrating planter cubes with exuberantly growing palm trees, succulents and other arid species: voids with specific atmospheres, greenhouses for growth and awkward exchanges. Most now lie dormant, like post boxes to empty living spaces.