As a newly graduated freelance architect, Nuno Brandão Costa won the 1st prize in the public competition for the Academic Library of Human and Social Sciences Faculty at Lisbon’s Nova University (FCSH-UNL), 2nd prize in the international competition for the new Portuguese Embassy in Berlin, both in 1998 and the 1st prize for the new School of Letters at Porto University (FLUP) in 2001, beginning his practice as an author.
In 2006, in an Alvaro Siza building in the iconic 70´s SAAL “Bairro da Bouça”, the Studio was established as a place for practice and research on architectural issues, scales and programmes, from housing to public, from design to installation, typology to urban, adopting the generalist nature of the discipline, using “free drawing”, “finding space and scale” and building. Building is treated not only as a technical response, but also as an ongoing physical design process. The language researched is generally based on elementary forms, precise simple geometry and rational space organisation, exploring the balance between pragmatism and poetry. The studio works as an important complement to teaching and academic speculation, where conceptual topics are put into practical action, and tested in real, social conditions.
Nuno Brandão Costa (Porto 1970) graduated from Faculty of Architecture of University of Porto (FAUP) in 1994, where he has also taught Project 4 since 2001 and from where he received his PhD in 2013. He did his internship with Herzog & de Meuron in Basel, Switzerland, in 1992 and 1993, and worked with José Fernando Gonçalves & Paulo Providência in Porto, from 1993 to 1998. In 2004, he won the Revelation and Merit Award from “Jornal Expresso/SIC – 12 anos”. Nuno´s work was included in the Portuguese representation in the 8th Venice Biennale International Exhibition in 2004, the São Paulo Architecture Biennale in 2005, “Portugal Now” at Cornell University, New York in 2007, “Tradition is innovation” in Tokyo in 2011 and the Milan Architecture Triennale in 2004 and 2014. He was a nominee for the “Mies van der Rohe Award” in 2008 and he was awarded the “Secil” Prize 2008, the “Vale da Gândara” Prize 2010/2011 and was a nominee for the “BSI – Swiss Architectural Award” 2012. He was a guest teacher at ETSA in Universidad de Navarra, in Taller Barozzi in the Escola Politécnica da Universidade de Girona and at the EHL Campus in Lausanne. He was invited for critical reviews at the Escola de Arquitectura da Universidade do Minho (EAUM), the Departamento de Arquitectura da Universidade de Coimbra (DARQ), the École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (ENAC-EPFL), Switzerland, FAPyD-UNR de Rosário, Argentina and the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) in Cambridge, USA. He was coordinator and teacher in Advanced Studies in Architectural Design (EAPA) 2014/2015 in FAUP. Nuno has lectured in Seminars and Universities in Argentina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Italy, Macedonia, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Spain and Switzerland.
Free-drawing is a series of informal freehand drawings using mixed techniques (pencil, coloured pencil, charcoal, pastel, felt pens, patterns), without any specific aesthetic pretense, but corresponding to a concrete moment in design, the moment when they crystallise into an image-synthesis. In general, these drawings are made at a time when the design is not yet fully outlined, serving precisely to trigger a process for defining shapes and materialising them. Doing them is a playful act of improvisation, even if it is an expression of representation which is instrumental in the construction of the work. Decisions about materiality, proportion, depth and form are taken based on the representation that these images offer. The design will not be completed or conditional on these drawings, but their existence corresponds to a process that provides an initiation synthesis and, at the same time, their actual anticipation. Their random sequential arrangement is an abstract mosaic which provides a different reading of the built work.
pero de alenquer
são joão de deus
santo tirso 2
solar do prado
santa maria da feira