The large movie theater is one of the most representative building types of the twentieth century, designed and built all over the world beginning at the end of the First World War and ending in the mid-sixties. Their evolution -- from small salons with architectural solutions derived from the design of theaters to the great cinematic palaces with seating for between 2,500 and 6,000 spectators – speaks of a building type consolidated in the thirties that played an important role in architectural modernity. However, due to the tendency to return to exotic and picturesque elements, the architecture of movie theaters has been largely ignored by the historiography of the modern movement in architecture and often considered an anachronistic or even kitsch expression.Studies dealing with movie theaters as architectural and cultural heritage carried out in countries such as Canada, the United States, Mexico, Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom, among others, have shown that this pejorative view was subjective and unfounded.

In spite of research that attempts to recover this forgotten architecture, nothing has been able to stop the process of loss of old movie theaters that began in the 1960’s due mostly to economic reasons, not to a lack of architectural merits of the building themselves. The central location of movie theaters in urban areas in a process of decay, the lack of parking and of security as well as the appearance of new concepts in cinematographic exhibition (such as multiplex theaters) made the original concept of the movie theater obsolete.

For this reason, collective reflection among those interested in the topic or who have done research on movie theaters, is considered relevant within the framework of the international conference in order to exchange methodological research experiences as well as to analyze proposals or specific projects for preservation. The value of the cultural, architectural, urban and affective (for older generations) heritage of the old movie houses in undeniable; the idea of this panel is to put this problem before in order to promote registry, documentation and the possibility of preservation, as well as to establish a network of researchers on the topic.

Coordinators: Alejandro Ochoa Vega (México)



It is imperative that architectural magazines be considered the most important documental source for twentieth century architecture. Architectural magazines are transcendental not only as a phenomenon of the written press, but also due to their capacity as a quick means of publicity that grew hand in hand with the modernization of a society in which technicians and artists needed to immerse themselves in sources of up-to-date information and knowledge permanently throughout the century.
Often considered as “guides”, the architectural magazines published during the twentieth century allow one to see not only what was built, but also to learn about projects that never went beyond ideas as well as to understand contemporary criticism of architectural works.
These publications show us different perspectives: some were faithful to the criteria of their editors. Commercial magazines, even the most flexible, adapted to the diverse viewpoints and attended to the demands of the market. Others were sounding boards for architectural tendencies or the expression of marketing of architectural offices. Finally, some, such as student or gremial publications, had the ability to reveal specific points of view. But, in all of them the effectiveness and velocity of the ideological transmission which they produced is quite clear, emphasizing the impact of new and modern ideas on professional practice.
Facing the 21st century, this session intends not only to bring together a wide perspective on the cultural and architectural universe of modern heritage expressed in the pages of these publications, but also to strengthen the image of this material as the necessary documental foundation for the revalorization of architectural heritage of the 20th century.

Coordinator: Patricia MÉNDEZ (Argentina)




Inaugurated fifty years ago, Brasilia is now a burgeoning metropolis of 2 million people, 350 000 of which live in the Pilot Plan conceived by Lucio Costa in 1957-58 for 500 000. The Pilot Plan can be said to revisit the City Beautiful of Burnham, McKim or Agache in the light of the Linear City of Soria y Mata, the Futurist City of Sant'Elia, the Contemporary and Radiant Cities of Le Corbusier, the Functional City of the 1933 CIAM and very old Chinese settlements- as well as garden suburbs, shopping centers, plazas open on one side, Piccadilly Circus, Times Square, Champs Elysées Avenue. Costa's Brasilia rivals and pays homage to slightly older Le Corbusier's Chandigarh. As Stanislaus von Moos and Maristella Casciatto suggested recently, both capitals herald the twilight of the comprehensive plan and the rise of the urban project as the mandatory tool for urban transformation. Indeed, the Pilot Plan can be described as a composition of functionally differentiated and formally articulated urban projects, many nested inside larger ones.

Documentation about the development over time of these urban projects is now becoming available. Archival research is disclosing fascinating data about the residential superblocks and the civic-administrative center, well-publicized features of Brasilia that have not been studied diachronically. At the same time, it is calling attention to features that are seldom talked about but are equally characteristic, such as the University of Brasilia campus. Pertinent issues raised by such research include the way urban projects give shape to and are shaped by modern conceptions of monumentality and domesticity, craftwork and prefabrication, repetitiveness and singularity, foresight and improvisation, mobility and quiet, activity and contemplation, publicness and privacy, the fit between function and form- as well as the way urban projects relate to an unstable, uncertainty-ridden context that limits them and is in turn redefined by them. The Brasilia experiment is worth studying in depth because it corresponds to a particular way of living in the urban modernity of yesterday that is not yet obsolete both in established and emerging economies. Both unique and exemplary, it may even spark discussion on ideas for living in the urban modernity of tomorrow.

Three case studies - the University City, the National Congress and Superblock Living- will be the point of departure of the proposed round table, presented respectively by Andrey Schlee, Danilo Macedo and Francisco Leitão (Brazil).

Coordinators: Carlos Eduardo Comas (Brazil) and Sylvia Ficher (Brazil)



The aim of this round table is to put into perspective the actual status of building identification in Africa, taking into account the register, description and analysis. The idea is to exchange points of view and information, to foster the knowledge of Sub-Saharan Africa, its geography, places and regions, to implement a discussion on the Modern Movement as heritage in this context.

Several researchers, dealing specially with the case of Maputo in Mozambique, will open the debate, but the goal is to reach a deeper and wider discussion. It is fundamental to also have the contribution of researchers who have been working on other cities and countries like South Africa, Ghana, Zambia, Angola, and Kenya.

Finally, the purpose of this meeting is to have a glance at the actual state of identification and the existing documentation, with the intention to go further than description and establish a consideration on modern heritage in this part of the world.

Coordinator: Ana Tostoes (Portugal)


1.- Movie Theaters. Modern Heritage to be rescued

2.- ArchitecturalMagazines
Documental Foundation for Modern Heritage

3.-Brasilia: Limits of the Urban Porject

4.- Modern Movement Architecture in Sub-Saharan Africa


New Deadline

Call for papers.PDF