ARCH: ephemeral architecture: urban follies

CONTENT / We live in a time of change. What we took for granted in the summer of 2019 is now an  enormous uncertainty. Each day we sick for answers to questions such as when can we travel? When can  we visit a museum? And I ask how can I introduce students, here and worldwide, to the World Heritage  City (WHC) of Évora?  

Following Darwin’s quote “It Is Not the Strongest of the Species that Survives But the Most Adaptable to  Change”, in this workshop we will change the way we travel, by “bringing international students to Évora,  and to the city Museums”, and exchange knowledge about architectural heritage, as space and place.  

Participants will be asked to design an Urban Folly (from French folie, “foolishness”, a generally non functional building that was in vogue during the 18th and early 19th centuries, to enhance a natural  landscape), an ephemeral structure to place in an urban space, where the unimaginable will happen: the city heritage will be displayed, not inside a traditional and immoveable museum, but in the square or  the street, perhaps from where the museum pieces have been found. And, by 5G technology, these  

Follies will be in contact with the rest of the world and provide a virtual tour to the WHC of Évora. 


AIMS / To raise awareness about the local heritage of a WHC. To reflect on how it can be displayed into  the public, here and elsewhere, in the outdoors. 

METHOD / Interpreting Public Place and Local Heritage – Local participants (Évora) will be paired with  international colleagues. Then they will be given an historic urban space in Évora and describe it to the  foreign colleagues. To design an architectural structure to enable people (locals, visitors, etc.) to enjoy  the historic values of that place. To present the idea in a mock-up..  

SCHEDULE / 2-Week Workshop. Weekly 4-hour class  

OFFICIAL TEACHING HOURS: 2 h Tuesdays + 2 h Thursdays 15:00-17:00 (PT)  

02 March | Introduction of the workshop objectives (video-lecture of 15 minutes)  + questions and feedback / Introduce yourself and three major values of the  historic core of the city where you are living, in a short video (3min. máx) / Define  work groups according to shared city’s values / Group work: Start the  development of ideas  

04 March | Group work: development of ideas and teachers’ feedback  

9 March | Group work: teachers’ feedback on finalising Mock-up scale 1:50 and  presentations in Zoom setting.  

11 March | Final Crit.  

(SELF-) EVALUATION / Answer to these questions in order to identify what skills you acquired: 

Question 1 | Our world is increasingly composed of visual images – phones,  tablets, laptops, cameras, therefore it is important to develop the ability to  recognize, sort, and rearrange them in order to create something new: did you 

heightened your visual acuity (your ability to look at things on their own terms  but also to make visual connections and to turn those visual connections into an  evolutionary history that has a past, a present, and a future)?  

Question 2 | This workshop has the capacity to be a consequential experience if  it is used to enhance your knowledge on cities values, on why and how they can  be used as triggers of new architectures. As you study other follies and ephemeral  architectural structures, in order to understand how you can design one that  responds to the challenge, you became an interactive learner, you expand your  mind, you exchange ideas with other students, you work together in groups, and  create real world projects and, by so doing – have you enhanced your academic  and personal life? Please explain how.  

Question 3 | By proposing an interactive learning experience, mixing students  from different geographies and cultures, a contemporary solution (to bring cities  values to wherever you are) to a real life problem (the impossibility/difficulty to  travel to other countries to know indigenous cultures on-site) has been found and  communicated using a mock-up – How have you learned with your colleagues  and enhanced/enlarged your architecture communication methods?  

Question 4 | Working in groups in such a short period, requires the establishment  of tasks such as data gathering, discussion/brainstorming of ideas and methods,  and time management – have you reached a definition of the concepts of space  and place to suitably respond to the workshop proposal on cultural values?  

Question 5 | Explain how innovative your proposal is.


Bibliography / 

Tuan, Y.-F. (2011). Space and place: the perspective of experience. Minneapolis:  University of Minnesota Press.


Évora University (PORTUGAL) / Sofia Aleixo ( + Joana Vilhena