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THE RADICAL POETRY OF JOAO CEPEDA

Having worked for some of the world’s greatest architects, Portuguese architect Joao Cepeda now works under his own name. A singular architectural solfeggio, combining radicalism and osmosis with nature. 

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“In constant search of the essence. Keen to avoid fashion or trends of any kind. Seeks serenity. Focuses on architecture’s sole central support, materiality and its pure constructive design.” This is how Portuguese architect Joao Cepeda presents his work, aspiring to the essential, and to the sobriety of the most natural, pure and tactile materials.

Japan, where he discovered a series of customs, local traditions and an exquisite culture, was a defining experience in his life. A country where he learned the evocative vision of the banal and the beauty of impermanence.

After completing his studies in Lisbon, he left his homeland for Lausanne, where he obtained his Master’s degree in Architecture. Joao Cepeda joined the “Laboratoire de Production Architecturale”, run by Swiss architect Harry Gugger, former senior partner of the Swiss architectural firm Herzog & De Meuron. He was also a researcher at the Fondation Le Corbusier in Paris in 2012, and published the monographic work “Nadir Afonso, Architect” in 2013, on the famous Portuguese painter-architect, who worked with Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer, among others. That same year, he moved to Japan, where he worked in Shinichi Ogawa’s architectural practice until 2014. Five years later, he launched his own practice. A practice in which he develops his own aesthetic grammar. The proof is “House in Ribeira dos Moinhos” in Castelo Branco. A veritable ode to minerality, the project is set along a “modest stream that cuts through a rugged, severe landscape”. A radical austerity built around large blocks of stone sawn from local granite, and home to “a small place of reconciliation with Nature ».

Another memorable project, “House in Estremoz”, framed by wild vegetation and blue skies, struck by the scorching sun. With clean, radical lines, the building rests on the ruin of an ancient stone wall. “A reminder of the past, an impression of the passage of time,” explains the architect. 

Finally, “House Near Serra da Estrela”, planted in the middle of a vast green landscape, which seems endless. A landscape in which a mass of pigmented concrete stands out, resting on a rocky plateau, sheltered by mountains, while framing nature and its thousand and one changing faces.

Lisa Agostini

joaocepeda.com

Portugal – Lisbonne