WHEN PAST AND FUTURE MEET IN ARCHITECTURE TEACHING: HERITAGE AND GIS

B. Santos, A. Martins, I. Campos, J. Gonçalves, P. Almeida

University of Beira Interior (PORTUGAL)
This article aims to present some of the teaching methodologies applied in the Integrated Master degree in Architecture at the University of Beira Interior in Covilhã (Portugal).

The discussion is focused on the collaborative and interdisciplinary approach adopted for the teaching/learning process, particularly on the courses of History of Portuguese Architecture, Project III and Geographical Information Systems (GIS), all from the course’s 3rd year. The aim of this approach is to encourage problem-based learning through the use of spatial tools and new technologies to analyse and manage architectural spatially referenced data.

Students present a heterogeneous level of general History knowledge and of History of Portuguese Architecture in particular. It was so necessary to also introduce the acquisition of knowledge to achieve the required competence on scientific working, research, adequate scientific terminology and architectural dating to finally achieve the expected results.

Interdisciplinary state of the art and knowledge gathering performed by the students concerned Architecture, GIS, Civil Engineering, Heritage, and History. Consequently, there was a transdisciplinary interconnection of the students’ research on religious Portuguese heritage at Covilhã implementing a GIS based inventory and analysis.

The curricular unit of Project III usually has requests from external institutions for design studies. Promoters intend to evaluate the potentialities of the site and these requests are incorporated on the course program on an annual basis, adapted accordingly to the expected skills. For students this is an important experience as they must respond to a real customer. The conjugation with the GIS curriculum complements all the necessary study for a better understanding of the site and its surroundings allowing to develop a useful spatial database for future reference.

This collaboration with GIS curricular unit began in 2016/2017 with Project III and evolved in 2017/2018 with History of Portuguese Architecture trough practical works gathering knowledge from multiple subjects.

Regarding the experience of teachers and students, the use of GIS in Architecture has revealed a high potential way to tackle in and outdoor architectural studies, giving students skills on the use of new technologies. This also allows them to contact with other scientific, technical and technological realities, preparing students for an international demanding work context.