Team 10, Lisbon, 1981. The Lost Meeting.
Three points of an overlapping history
by Leonor Matos Silva

1981 is a year to remember in the history of Team 10. Jaap Bakema, one of its mentors and motors, died in February that year. According to Alison Smithson, there was a sort of empirical agreement that restrained the Team 10 members from meeting each other “as a family” from then on. In any case, some of them did meet, and that reunion is reported by Alison Smithson herself in “Team Ten Meetings 1953-1984” (1991). (The date of 1984 refers to the death of José Coderch, on November 5th).

The pretext for this reunion in Lisbon is, again as stated in the book, to meet Amâncio (Pancho) Miranda Guedes on his sabbatical leave. “Team Ten Meetings” also affirms that architecture was discussed, namely Jullian de la Fuente’s French embassy buildings in Rabat. In short, the Smithsons, Guedes and de la Fuente got together in Lisbon in 1981.

We must, however, consider that the city was not neutral to this gathering, acknowledging the open doors, or the fierce welcome from the Director of the Lisbon Architecture School to what he considered to be the actual Team 10 group and its last reunion. Objectively, Guedes was a teacher and, together with the Smithsons, gave lectures and taught at the School in autumn 1981.

This is where the term network becomes critical. Some key figures of the School must be referenced to understand the relationship between the School and Team 10, like Augusto Brandão, its Director, Troufa Real, faculty and Amâncio Guedes, also faculty, brought by the the influence of Real.

The history of the Lisbon School is rather long but a knowledge of it is crucial to understand some key issues, namely what gave rise to the context of the coming of the Team 10, so that we may comprehend, or at least interpret, the reasons behind an apparent ‘lack of register’ of the happening. In other words, why was the Smithsons visit a phenomenon with no consequences? This hypothesis must be reflected upon considering the apparatus that the Director put together for the coming of Team 10 – news articles, activity plans, … even part of a press conference, we believe.

As said, the School plays a very crucial role in assembling other pieces of information. It is as much a protagonist as it is a reading tool; specifically, it was in the School that we found some of the data now delivered. Hence the importance of the archives as much as our own subjective reading. This found material gives rise to new objects of enquiry.

Leonor Matos Silva is an integrated researcher at Dinâmia'CET – Centre for Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies of the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL), where in 2019 she presented her doctoral thesis “Escola de Lisboa. Arquitectura e Cultura entre 1970 e 1986”.