Together with Argot ou la Maison Mobile we have been invited to built an intervention in Ponta Delgada, in the island of Sao Miguel, for the 4th Edition of Walk & Talk’s urban art Festival.
The project had as its starting point the vernacular architecture in the Azores, in particular the rural structures connected with the agricultural productions, which strongly marked the landscape and once were part of the region’s economy, but now nearly disappeared. Our research has driven us to focus on three typologies, which we have redesigned and transformed into urban equipment to be integrated in cities’ public space.
We wanted to refresh the inhabitants’ memory surprising them, inspiring curiosity and provoking dialogue among the olders, who could recognize the original structures, and the children or between locals and tourists who may know more about the Azores Islands culture through architectural elements, deeply connected with tradition.
In order to open the project to the community and to professionals we have proposed to organize a practical laboratory of architecture, which we have called Redesign Tradition – Play Architecture, through which the interventions were built. Parallel to the workshop we have invited local and international architecture studios to reflect on the laboratory’s theme.
“Cafuão de milho” I Corn dryer
It’s just one of the different nouns used for the wooden structures where the ears of corn were tied up to make them dry before grin- ding. It was very common to see it in the family’s courtyards, as they were small and very easy to build. Starting from this memory we have realized two different structures, a picnic table with benches where people can stay together or eat in a public space, and a bench with a flowerpot for a flower kiosk, which now can hang their plants as if they were corn.
From the old mills only the brick walls remained on top of São Miguel hills.
Few of them have been restored but have lost their grinding function. But the mills had also a social role: they were the space where people met while waiting for the ground corn, a convivial public space.
Our urban adaptation of the mill creates a playful and fun archetype for children and adults, and invites people to find out what can be seen from the top while the wind-vanes turn.
The biological production of pineapples in wooden whitewash greenhouses still survives, but they are quickly getting older and few of them are restored when damaged as few people are interested or can’t afford it.
Our redesign bring us to the sea, to the natural swimming pool “Pesqueiro” where year-round the citizens swim right in the centre of the town.
Reducing its scale we have transformed the greenhouses in platforms to sunbathe, to sit, to lay down and play. Two platforms, one a pure white volume, reminding the landscape outside of the town, in the second one, volumes where open to give space to a deckchair or a sitting in fishnets used to catch the sardines.
The work in progress