International Summer Seminar

The project Fertile Futures, which constitutes the official Portuguese representation at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2023, took seventy students from all over the world to Fundão for two weeks, to consider the future of the area threatened by the shortage of fresh water.

Over the course of fifteen days in July, the International Summer Seminar held numerous field visits, conferences and workshops, and produced installations throughout the territory of Fundão. The Seminar involved seventy students from national and international universities – from Portugal, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Chile, Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, among others –, the seven architectural teams that presented their projects in Venice, and various partners and local people.

Fundão is one of the eight Portuguese cities included in the European Union Mission for adaptation to climate change and is deeply affected by water scarcity and highly intensive agriculture, fires and desertification. It is also representative of strong investments in social inclusion and technological expansion in the interior of the country, thus becoming the focus of the debate and the stage of the work laboratories. 

Hence, the extension of the project Fertile Futures to the municipality of Fundão promoted and explored the theme of freshwater scarcity, from seven laboratories scattered throughout the area: the groups of Corpo Atelier, Dulcineia Santos Studio and Space Transcribers worked in Janeiro de Cima; the team of Guida Marques explored the landscape of Cabeço do Pião; the group of Ilhéu Atelier explored the water line of the Castelo Novo River beach; and the teams of Ponto Atelier and Pedrêz occupied the interior and exterior of the Fundão Seminar, respectively.

The proposals presented in the framework of the International Summer Seminar by the different teams resulted in joint exercises and diverse solutions, and sought to reflect on the significant role of architecture in collaborative thinking and in the construction of fertile futures.

The International Summer Seminar thus integrates the triad that constitutes the project Fertile Futures, in parallel with the exhibition in Venice, which problematizes the issues of management, distribution and scarcity of freshwater in seven hydrogeographies in Portugal; and the Assemblies of Thought, five debates taking place in Lisbon, Venice, Braga, Faro (to be held on September 2) and Porto Santo (to be held on October 7) that have several experts from different disciplinary areas.

1. Beatriz, Janeiro de Cima
Corpo Atelier laboratory

Architectural sculpture as landscape construction was the proposal presented by the Corpo Atelier workshop. Beatriz is the name attributed to the straw stairs, located on the fluvial island of Janeiro de Cima, which are symbolically an intermediary between the human being and the way of seeing the world, between the immediate and the imaginary landscape, suggesting one that is not visible still exists. Simultaneously, they seek to hide and reveal where the Zêzere river goes and where it comes from.

Workshop by Corpo Atelier: Filipe Paixão com Diogo Silva e Pietro Pucci
Participants: Ana Veloso Marques, Esther Ampudia, Joana Fontes, Lee Tsz Hei, Victor Matas, Sabrina Rodrigues, Julia Sanjuan, Cristina Tasso

2. Unlearn / Draw the line, Janeiro de Cima
Dulcineia Santos Studio laboratory

Based on the observation of the "complete path" of the movement of a water line, the Dulcineia Santos Studio group developed the workshop Unlearn / Draw the line, which, using drawing expression, explored the different qualities of the soil and sought to make participants fully aware of the power of water in the construction of sustainable and biodiverse spaces that can be used by the Fundão community.

Workshop by Dulcineia Santos Studio: Dulcineia Santos com Frederico Moncada, Jorge Abade e Georges Lieben
Participants: Kong Jining, Eliza Previato, Juste Zvirblyté, Luiza Carvalho, Roberto Costa da Matta, Luisa Frigolett, Goda Padvelskyté

3. Auto da Barca de Janeiro de Cima, Janeiro de Cima
Space Transcribers Laboratory

The group coordinated by Space Transcribers proposed to explore storytelling as an instrument of architectural practice, capable of imagining spatial and critical scenarios for the future of the built environment. The performance Auto da Barca de Janeiro de Cima, delivered on the river beach of Janeiro de Cima between the banks of the Zêzere River, arose from a two-week investigation and sought to unravel and forge the links between the uncertain present and a fictionalized future.

Workshop by Space Transcribers: Daniel Duarte Pereira, Fernando P. Ferreira
Participants: Francisco Buitrago, Unė Jonynaitė, Francisco Garvão, Maria Paula Freitas, Ryota Sakai, Silvia García Sánchez, Vasco Nóvoa, Samanta Kajėnaitė, Bruno Kenny Oliveira

4. Repair, Cabeço do Pião
Guida Marques laboratory 

In Cabeço do Pião, the workshop Repair, led by Guida Marques, proposed the creation of a place of experimentation through the development of actions that make us more aware of our individual role in the world. Through the company's own processes of performance art, the participants sought to explore the relationship with water, rurality, ancestry, and the future.

Workshop by Guida Marques
Participants: Beatriz Cabral, André Mouro, Carolina de Almeida, Eva Monteiro, Maria Rivera, Pedro Freire

5. To flow instead of being stone, Castelo Novo
Ilhéu Atelier laboratory

From the empirical analysis of place, the workshop proposed by Ilhéu Atelier sought to identify the manifestations and human representations of water in the area. Through the materialization of the emotional experience of the group in relation to place, To flow instead of being stone uses a verse by Eugénio de Andrade to explore the interstices between individual and collective memory and develop a site-specific installation from five monolithic objects designed for the River beach of Castelo Novo.

Workshop by Ilhéu Atelier: Afonso Botelho Santos e Rita Sampaio
Participants: Vitória Seixas, Ece Mulazimoglu, Eduarda Silva, Giovanni Zenere, Sancho Manso, Zaida Vasconcelos, Martim Mota, Ana Ascensão

6. Electro-tecture, Fundão seminar
Pedrêz laboratory

Pedrêz developed the experimental workshop Electro-tecture, which sought to understand and investigate the relationship between architecture and electromagnetism through experiments in agriculture, seeking to reduce freshwater consumption. The installation of 49 vases, which occupies one of the playing fields of the Seminar, is now an experimental laboratory-in-progress for the next three months.

Workshop by Pedrêz: Francisco Fonseca, Matilde Cabral
Participants: Laura Cazaban, Filipa van der Laan, Martim Neiva, Miguel Teodoro, Ricardo Garcia, Rodrigo Pereira, Gabriela Sánchez-Jara, Julia Froner, Margherita Prisco, Filipe Miranda, Alberto José

7. Fo(u)r, Fundão seminar
Ponto Atelier Laboratory

In the Fundão seminar, Ponto Atelier sought traces of pre-existence in order to understand and transform the way to manage water. Through a collaborative effort, inspired by a pre-existing fountain, the workshop Fo(u)r built a water mirror, which rises in the middle of the courtyard and connects the four entrances, rewriting the symbolic and spiritual value of water and establishing a new centre of meeting among different cultures and generations.

Workshop by Ponto Atelier: Ana Pedro Ferreira, Pedro Maria Ribeiro
Participants: Miguel Lopes, Ana Rita Souto, Martina Catasta, Erickson Fortes, Ana Peral, Inês Salgueiro, João Jacinto, José Fernandes, Stephanie Ng, Peerada Liewchanpatana


Andreia Garcia


Ana Neiva, Diogo Aguiar


Patrícia Coelho


Município do Fundão, Fundação Serra Henriques, Canal 180


Esmeralda Tavares, Bina Paulo