Mimi Zeiger

Critic, editor, curator and instigator.

Letters to the Mayor: Lisbon presents a collection of letters written by architects to Fernando Medina, bringing pressing issues and new ideas to the desk of Lisbon’s newly elected mayor.

Letters to the Mayor: Lisbon takes place as part of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale (4e), and is the 12th edition of Letters to the Mayor, a project initiated by Storefront for Art and Architecture in 2014.

This project invites architects to write letters to their mayors, initiating a dialogue between those who represent a city and those that build it. International iterations, organized in partnership with local institutions and individuals, bring the project to cities and towns across the globe. Each of the iterations share three common elements: an exhibition of letters addressed to the mayor, a Mayoral Desk and Architect’s Table, and a wallpaper that reflects ideas and issues unique to each city. The desk and table, as well as the wallpaper, are designed by local architects, artists, and designers, and reflect upon the role of the architect in the construction of the future of the contemporary city.

Letters to the Mayor: Lisbon is curated by Ivo Poças Martins.

Mayor of Lisbon:
Fernando Medina

Wallpaper by:

Curated by:
Ivo Poças Martins

Production Assistance:
EGEAC (Empresa de Gestão de Equipamentos e Animação Cultural de Lisboa)

Tim Abrahams , Julia Albani and Nuno Cera, Pedro Alonso, Ido Avissar, Baukuh, Neeraj Bhatia, Teresa Calix, Cartha, Carlos Carvalho, Christ & Gattenbein, CLUUA, Plan Común, Alexander Eisenschmidt, Fernandez & Serres, Jorge Figueira, Guillermo Lopez, Paolo Marcolin, José Mateus, Emma McNally, Manon Mollard, Nicholas de Monchaux, Tiago Mota Saraiva, Marc Nagtzaam, Victor Neves, Sara Orsi, Piovenefabi, Pedro Pitarch, Anna Puigjaner, Davidson Rafaelidis, Marina Rainho, Pedro Ressano Garcia, Patrícia Robalo Ribeiro, Bernardo Rodrigues, Eike Roswag-Klinge, Luis Santiago Baptista, Rafi Segal and Els Verbakel, Eliana Sousa Santos, André Tavares, Danny Wills, Mimi Zeiger

About the curator:
Ivo Poças Martins was born in Porto in 1980 and graduated from the University of Porto’s Faculty of Architecture (FAUP) in 2005 (having also attended the École National Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Val de Seine 2002/03 under the Erasmus programme). He is currently working on his PhD thesis at FAUP.

Parallel to his academic work, Ivo is also a partner in the Ivo Poças Martins e Matilde Seabra Arquitectos firm. He is founder and co-editor of the fanzine Friendly Fire dedicated to architecture and urban culture.

From 2012 to 2015 Ivo was a member of the editorial board of Jornal Arquitectos. In 2016 he joined the team for the 4th edition of the Lisbon Architecture Triennale as a curatorial assistant.

About Letters to the Mayor:
As civic figures, architects have a privilege and a responsibility to articulate and translate the collective aspirations of society; particularly for those who are not able to sit at decision-making tables.

Throughout history, architects have engaged with this responsibility and the structures of economic, political, and cultural power in different ways with varying degrees of success. With the rise of globalization and the homogenization of the contemporary city, the role of the architect in the political arena has often been relegated to answering questions that others have asked. In their pursuit to design the next economically driven cultural-iconic-touristic object, an increasing number of architects, as well as political leaders, have undermined the potential of design to participate in the advancement of public life.

Letters to the Mayor is an itinerant exhibition that displays real letters written by architects to their city mayors, and brings innovative ideas and visions of the city closer to the decision-makers, and vice versa.

Storefront for Art and Architecture initiated Letters to the Mayor in New York City in 2014 with a collection of fifty letters from international architects who wrote to their mayors. Subsequent iterations, organized in partnership with local institutions and groups, have brought local and international issues onto the desks of elected officials and into the public consciousness by focusing on the specific issues unique to each city.

Previous and upcoming editions of Letters to the Mayor include: Panama City (Panama), Mariupol (Ukraine), Bogotá (Colombia), Taipei (Taiwan), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Athens (Greece), and São Paulo (Brazil).

To read more about the project and other international editions, see here.