One Straight Story

by Rossana de Carvalho Eckardt from Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto (FAUP), Portugal
Tutored by: Hélde Casal Ribeiro

Author comments:

One Straight Story presents the gathering of cultures and a development of a project in the African country São Tomé and Principe. The project is based on a practical exercise developed during an exchange programme of the architecture study carried out in Chile.

Besides following the specific agenda of the classes, it outlines the creative process of a specific approach to the academic project. This approach results from an explicit pedagogical method related to the island of São Tomé respecting its culture and tradition and taking into consideration all aspects of the methodology and techniques of tropical architecture. Mostly exploring the relationship between architecture and the environment, going throw topics such as sustainability, critical regionalism, bioclimatic and vernacular architecture. Besides having a wide range of case studies of the examples of humanitarian, emergency, trauma and temporary architecture and tropical architecture.

Set up in three parts, it explains the progress and the discover made from an academic exercise to the a practical project taking in consideration what the author Ismael Seralgeldin writes, “The architect is the generalist who speculates on how the pieces could fit together in more advantageous ways one who is concerned with what well might be.” Learning with the natives inspired by their culture, one Straight Story is a new concept of living. An Eco House that would serve as a role model to all kind of lifestyles completely self-sustainable and taking into its own advantage the best of the Island.

Tutor comments:

One of the key issues that today´s architecture must face is globalization of its design process. Not in the sense of the recent years’ internationalization process, where one went abroad to project his work or disseminate his architectural ideas. Today´s issue is information´s transversal sedimentation process were different cultural and formative backgrounds confront local cultures contaminating the design process at distinct levels resulting in a melting pot of sensibilities, forms and shapes. These notions should comprehend the search of a thought process underlined by a comprehensive, methodical and cultured architectural/professional approach.

The present dissertation plays on these notions and themes with an European graduate student, with African and Scandinavian heritage, studying in Chile, in the final year, developing an academic proposal associated with emergency architecture. This proposal will in turn, be (re)interpreted into a real commission for a family estate endeavour in the constrained reality of S. Tomé Principe without losing its architectural intend in terms of materiality, scale and sensibility in the dialogue with programme, place and nature.

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