Portugal: Material Practices
6 credits (ARCH/IDISC-1584-01 & LAEL-1584-01)
Although separated by the Atlantic Ocean, Providence and surrounding New England towns have deep ties to Portugal. An influx of immigrants from Portugal, who settled in New England in the late-18th century, links the two regions. Providence, East Providence, Central Falls, Fall River, and New Bedford, among other towns, continue to function as vital hubs for Portuguese Americans today. Students in the co-requisite liberal arts and studio courses that comprise "Portugal: Material Practices" will use the methodologies of architecture, design, and the environmental humanities to investigate how two different materials-stone and cork-function as nodes in intersecting biological, cultural, economic, geological, material, political, social, and theoretical networks that route through Portugal. Although stone and cork and the material explorations students will conduct in relation to these materials are specifically linked to the areas of Portugal we will visit, these explorations are applicable to broader contexts, both local and global. Students will spend the first three weeks of the course in Portugal, which offers a unique context in which to study making and adapting the natural and built environment towards sustainable models of design innovation. While abroad, students will study the roles natural resources play in the future of historic places; will investigate principles for the design of artifacts, systems, and/or building technologies that engage both local and global knowledge; and will use literature, theory, and other cultural texts to test, frame, and deepen their ideas. Locations will include the San Miguel, Lisbon, Porto, and the Alentejo region, with additional day trips. The last two weeks of the course will take place in Providence. Students will complete regular design, drawing, collecting, reading, and writing assignments throughout the entire course. Producing the final project for the course-a publication that will weave together architectural and environmental humanities approaches to a site from the travel component of the course-will be the focus of the last two weeks of the course.
Permission of Instructor required. Open to first year students with approval from the Dean of Experimental and Foundation Studies.
Estimated Travel Cost: $2,500.00 – airfare not included.