Travelers: Madeline and Andrew Seago
Destination: Azores, Portugal
In July of 2022, Madeline and Andrew Seago spent two weeks exploring the Azores as part of an annual Summer School organized by INTBAU and the Premio Rafael Manzano. They were grateful for the opportunity to participate as alumni, and re-immerse themselves in academic pursuits, intensely sketching, participating in lectures, and designing. The exceptional list of professors and lecturers for the program included Alejandro García Hermida, Frank Martinez, José Baganha, Jorge Santos Silva, and Lucien Steil.
We spent most of the two weeks on Pico Island, the second largest and most recently formed in the volcanic archipelago. The harsh landscape, with constant winds, rugged lava rock formations, and little fresh water, has resulted in unique building typologies and construction practices.
The only building material local to the island is the plentiful igneous rock. Roof tiles and plaster are imported from the Iberian Peninsula. High humidity and chilly winter winds meant that early residents, who trickled in starting in the late 1400s, built compact houses out of stone blocks, filling chinks with plaster as funds allowed. Houses often were built above stables, to conserve heat from livestock.
Homes and villages line the coast of Pico, as the highland ridge is cold and humid in the winter. Most of the fresh water on the island is collected in the highlands, however, so hardy cows drink from pools that dot the landscape.
The first week of the program, all the students took day trips to different towns and villages of Pico, drawing, measuring, and studying the place from the urban scale down to details.
The second week, the students produced a new urban plan for Lajes do Pico, filling vacant lots and dreaming about what to do on the sites of some crumbling buildings built after 1950.
We both loved participating in this summer school. We are both so grateful for the opportunity to learn from experts about the formation, culture, and architectural heritage of Pico Island – and we learned as much from our incredible student peers. Thanks for coming on this short trip to the Azores with us!
Follow along our morning sketch exercises on Instagram, which also features Madeline and Andrew’s trip, here: https://www.instagram.com/historicalconcepts_sketches/