Eduardo Aquino, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Architecture
413 Architecture 2 Building
t 204.474.7177  f 204.474.7532

PhD, Universidade de São Paulo, 2014
M.F.A., Concordia University, Quebec, 1994
B. Urb., Faculdade de Belas Artes, São Paulo, Brazil, 1986
B. Arch., Faculdade de Belas Artes, São Paulo, Brazil, 1986
Dip. I.D., Escola Panamericana de Arte, São Paulo, Brazil, 1981


The poverty of much urbanist thought can be reduced to a central fallacy: that the city, or Metropolis, expresses itself fully in its physical form, that as a finite concrete object alone it is amenable to analysis and intervention. The city, however, is not this, but rather a perpetually organizing field of forces in movement, each city a specific and unique combination of historical modalities in dynamic composition. Sanford Kwinter & Daniela Fabricius

Sometime in this new beginning of century the world population living in cities surpassed 50% for the first time, making cities the ultimate destination of the 21st century. This collective effort of association to a place, sometimes moved by desire, sometimes by imposition, drives enormous human masses everywhere towards the urban world. This place of desire (or despair) – the city – reveals itself beyond the physical. Motivated by dreams of prosperity, material or spiritual gains, or stimulated by new cultural prospects, within and beyond political borders, populations flee from political, cultural or economic oppression, from countryside or other urban centres, to find in the new city opportunities for self-realization. No matter what reasons for resettlement, there is a common fascination with the city as much as there are difficulties: financial, social, or psychological. The ultimate impulse toward the city is moved by the simple human desire to congregate, to partake, in other words: to live together.

Cities are remarkable infrastructures for living. Buildings, roads, large-scale public structures, services, and facilities, parks, etc., generate complex systems of living. This overpowering physical presence, of mostly architectural and engineering objects, commands how people operate in the city. The generic urban rule conditions the inhabitant to passively accept and respond to what has been established, and unconsciously conventions are followed. Beyond the physical city, the urban dweller evolves through all possible forms, scientific, spiritual, or social, perpetuated within a dynamic composition. If capitalist production predominates within this dynamic urban field, a counterpoint to the strictness of urban life preserves the well being of its citizens. Everyone needs to release from the strain of city life. In an urban conglomeration, spaces for overflow, like promenades, parks, restaurants, sports venues, entertaining and shopping amenities, release the pressures imposed by the obligations of production and consumption. These spaces, including all sorts of public spaces, are the lubricant that safeguards and maintains a healthy urban dynamic.

Within the collection of urban overflows there is the beach; not necessarily the beach as the literal typology constituted by sand and a body of water, but the beach as the territory for otium. Independent of the location, the geographic setting, the city in which is situated, or the specific typology through which is articulated (natural/artificial, ocean/lake, sand/asphalt, indoor/outdoor, etc.), the beach initially reveals the image of a territory of pleasure and leisure, even though that same territory can be identified as a place of negotiation between differences, a process that is not always pleasurable, due to the social hyperrealism of city life. The typology of the beach expands to all kinds of spaces, producing places of encounter and release. Its accommodating infrastructure promotes multiple occupations, an open frame to support urban life. Regardless of each specific circumstance, the beach offers a vast laboratory to understand society, revealing qualities of the spaces where public life takes place. The beach is where the politics of everyday life can be seen as a microcosm of larger scale politics of the expanded city. That is when the original territory of release and pleasure becomes the ground of confrontation, where social, racial and political differences charge new human negotiations, transforming this typology further than the simply physical.

Professor Eduardo Aquino has a PhD from the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo working on a research project on beachscapes.