Stories & Projects

Architecture, Exploration and Reflection


The summer course 2019 offered the opportunity for architecture students to immerse in a process-oriented project work and to explore a site-specific architectural issue. Within the course, the students explored which role architecture can have in relation to social and environmental aspects in society. Critical reflection and evaluation of the own work process and the results were important aspects of the course.

Workshops within the course was held in four different places in the world: Rome (Italy), Zvizzhi (Russia), Seoul (Southkorea) and Lesvos (Greece). The students worked with themes and questions specific to each place. 

In Rome the students explored the complex reality of modern-day Rome from the perspectives of cultural, artistic and activist creation of urban commons. The Italian concept bene comune (common goods) is currently used to define vacant places or buildings that are activated with the purpose of becoming shared urban spaces. During this workshop the students addressed how contemporary urban life could be built on different initiatives where urban heritage, from the antiquity to the 21st century, is reused as a common good. An urgent need for housing, places to produce and present art-works, make cultural or pedagogical activities the workshop investigated how inhabitants, among them artists and migrants, have retaken agency over their physical environment reusing historical buildings, transforming them for new uses, and sharing them with others. 

In the workshop held in Zvizzhi, Russia, the participants investigated the contemporary conditions for rural geographies through exploration and analysis of the largest Art Park in Europe, Nikola-Lenivets Art Park. They designed and built an architectural intervention that addressed the social and cultural needs of the Art Park and its surrounding local community. 

 In Seoul, South Korea, the students explored the complexity in one of the most populous cities in the world. The city is in a constant state of transition, a temporary city to its core. It has no certainties or constancies except change. This leads to disconnection socially and physically and isolation of individuals and citizens as a whole. This challenge our understanding of the city; it challenges familiar strategies of urban engagement and concept of communities. It requires new perspectives of creating communities that addresses issues of autonomy, coexistence, diversity, openness, democratic values of engagement, communication, collaboration, and sharing. The students designed new forms of community platforms. Students from Korea and other Asian countries also took part in the workshop. 

The workshop in Lesvos, Greece, was a collaboration between Umeå School of Architecture and the NGO Lesvos Solidarity at Pikpa Open Refugee Camp.  Pikpa Camp supports vulnerable refugees with specific medical, psychological and family needs, many of whom are referred from other camps in Lesvos including the now infamous Moria. The students worked closely with Lesvos solidarity, volunteers and residents to identify specific needs under four headings - shelter, heating, cooling and water management. Students then designed solutions and built full-scale prototypes, which were presented and communicated to local stakeholders and refugees. 


  • About Stories & Projects

    The Stories & Projects section is a space for brief updates about the activities at Umeå School of Architecture: notes from on-going projects, links to articles in media, summaries from public lectures, reports on different collaborations. Click on the titles to see each full story.