This chapter discusses the traces of debates on modern architecture in the documents of building bureaucracy in 1950s Portugal. There, planning and funding applications presented to state and local agencies included design statements (‘memórias descritivas’) that portrayed not only the functional and technical aspects of the project but also deployed aesthetical, ethical, philosophical and even political arguments; written by designers rather than by patrons, they were not meant for publication or circulation of any kind, but solely for the purpose of being assessed by a small circle of planners and officials. These, in turn, produced their own, statement-based replies and arguments, disputing or accepting proposals and originating an unedited exchange on architecture’s fundamentals that was closer to the industrial, pragmatic aspects of practice than most published texts. Drawing on concrete examples of little-known works and agents, I ask what are we to make of this unedited discourse in our understanding of architectural production and its frameworks? Can it be seen as an alternative arena for disciplinary debate, for those who remained outside of the canonical forms of publication and dissemination but still wished to convey their concerns and beliefs? Is this ultimately a space of proximity between the discipline’s critical discourse and its everyday production, codified and regulated?