text for the group exhibition in Font Romeu, France where João Diniz presented his work

In the year 1500 the virgin shores of South America

Were discovered by Portuguese navigators

Who founded the country later known as Brazil.

The pristine scenery of gentle natives and awesome nature

Delighted the colonizers with opulence and surprises.

By the 1700’s colonization was limited to the coastline,

The first cities were born as well as an Atlantic economy

Based on extraction and interchange with Europe.

At the time the discovery of gold in the continent’s inland

Repositions commercial and social interests,

The southern province of Minas Gerais outpours wealth.

The countryside is populated and cities emerge with their

Plazas, palaces, villages, churches, sculptures, symphonies…

The mestizo artist Aleijadinho is distinguished among many

Who reflect the material opulence of this first manifestation

Of the real Brazilian civilization: multiple, contradictory and strident.

From the gold come to light the first metropolises of the emerging nation:

Mariana, Sabará, Diamantina, São João Del Rey and Ouro Preto

The first capital, where in 1792 lieutenant Tiradentes conducts

The important movement for freedom that evolves up to 1822 with the

Independence of Brazil, a nation is born with its challenges.

From there gold unfolds into other economies:

Cattle, agriculture, steel & iron, industries, are new sources

That redesign the state in which a new capital is founded in 1897.

Belo Horizonte, a city positively and orthogonally planned,

A team coordinated by Aarão Reis plans for the city of the future

Geometrical reason over sensual geography, the 20th century is born.

The city grows to become an important national economic center

And also political, intellectual, cultural, where the hilly geography

Suggests the character of the population and attitudes in a mix of

Prudence, obstinacy, attention, deepness, discretion and dream.

In the 1940’s mayor Juscelino Kubitschek commissions

The young architect Oscar Niemeyer to create Pampulha

A landmark where the Brazilian Modern Architecture is born

Reflecting a young country searching for its own culture,

A large generation of thinkers and creators opens up the dialogue

With their radical origins and the wide world around.

In the 1970’s BH stages the first modernist reviews.

A new avant-garde, conscious and respectful for the previous steps,

Searches for new values into a new architecture simultaneously

Modern and popular, consistent and symbolic, universal and regional,

Technologically viable, environmentally correct and expressive.

Éolo Maia, Veveco Hardy and Cid Horta are key names

In this positioning known as post-Brasilia In a loyal manner to a tradition of contemporariness and risk.

In that scenario I was born, grew up and became an architect in the 1980’s

Times of political authoritarianism, mystical discoveries, multimedia incursions,

First trips, economic turmoil and personal reinventions.

The works presented in this exhibition result from such reflections and

Conflicts between the will to make and its limitations, between the search for

An own language and the specificity of each situation, between the

Technological precision and the improvisation of mutant demands, between

The environmentally sustainable and the urgency of needs, between the

Possibility of moments and the search for timelessness, between a

Regional accent and the universal language of an interconnected world.

The daily practice at my office, an increasingly smaller and adroit company,

Gathers the project approach of different architectural topics to an academic activity

which facilitates the theoretical reflection and new encounters.

A multidisciplinary interest connects this architecture to experiments in

Music, literature, photography, sculpture, drawing, video and spiritualities.

The political criticism, social non-conformism, solidarity and humor

Are also tools used for us to follow our way

Maybe contributing to add both health and beauty to the planet.

João Diniz, architect MSc Belo Horizonte, Brazil April 2009

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