I. Campos

University of Beira Interior, Centro de Investigação em Arquitetura Urbanismo e Design - CIAUD (PORTUGAL)
The Integrated Master in Architecture, Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture (DECA), Faculty of Engineering of the University of Beira Interior, is constituted by important disciplines in the training of the future architect. One of the disciplines that gather all the knowledge acquired throughout the course is the Project discipline. This discipline is a laboratory of experiences where students learn to think about a project, to draw it and to put into practice all the disciplines implicit in the profession of the architect, and of everything that they acquired, to the concretization in an approximate context of the reality.

Often, in this project discipline, the contact with several institutions and firms outside the university, with the request and commissioning of projects by them, opening a competition to the whole class. These requests are intended for promoters to get a sense of the potentialities of the place and the program defined. For students this is an almost real experience, as they have to respond to a client that will be marking the design options.

The last work was carried out with the City Hall of Fundão, where students were asked to develop rehabilitation projects for former guesthouses in the city center to be transformed into youth residences. And the study of the feasibility of transforming old stores, also in the center, into housing for seniors. The case studies were three old pensions and five stores. This study was requested by the mayor and aims to requalify the historic center of the city, in order to bring new life to these spaces.

The third year students (2016-2017) developed the projects for two former guesthouses and for a shop, in groups or individually. At the end of the semester the results obtained were presented to the Mayor and the architect responsible for urban planning. Given the positive results it was suggested a presentation to the community and owners who agreed to open the shops and buildings for the development of this work.

For students of architecture, this direct contact with reality allows them to better prepare themselves to finish the degree and enter the working world with some experience, since during the five years they have not included professional internships.