Twelve postgraduate students and two staff from the Architecture and Environmental Design MSc course travelled to Sao Paulo, Brazil for a seven-day study trip and exchange with students from the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Sao Paulo (FAUUSP).

The trip was part of the Latitudes Global Studio project, organised by the Latitudes Network and involved international academic partners around the world. It was funded, in part, by the Quintin Hogg Trust (QHT) Fund.

Throughout the first semester students from the Architecture and Environmental Design MSc course and postgraduate students from FAUUSP have been engaging in a series of academic activities via Video Conferencing, which culminated in a trip to Sao Paulo at the end of February.

The programme of events was organised jointly by academics from FAUUSP and Dr Rosa Schiano-Phan and Benson Lau from the University of Westminster. It included presentations by the students, site visits as well as fieldwork and lectures by researchers from FAUUSP on current topics.

Dr Rosa Schiano-Phan, Course Leader of the Architecture and Environmental Design MSc and Benson Lau, Course Leader of the Architecture and Environmental Design BSc Honours also delivered keynotes presentations at the FAUUSP Campus.

During the trip students were involved in a number of visits to iconic examples of modernist architecture. The programme also included a guided tour of the Minhocao motorway’s Green Corridor by architects and founders of the practice Movimento 90graus, Guil Blanche and Veronica Devia.

Sao Paulo field trip

Speaking about their experience, one student said: “It was an absolute honour to accompany Rosa Schiano-Phan as her student to the beautiful city of Sao Paulo. The trip allowed me to expand my vision of different strategies employed by the Architects with respect to different climates.

“The warm hospitality received by the Brazilian team, led by Joana Goncalves, enabled us to further explore the city and widened our architectural observations. The Charrette held at the FAUUSP Campus played a vital role in studying the FAU building along with the Brazilians students under the supervision of Dr Schiano-Pan, Lau Benson and Professor Goncalves.”

The students from both institutions engaged in joint workshops during which they experimented with latest and innovative research methods for the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the spatial delight and processional sequence of the Brutalist faculty building by Joao Batista Villanova Artigas where they compared the simultaneous performance of the luminous and thermal environments. The short but intense study was presented by the students, confirming the initial hypothesis and highlighting new insights.

Speaking about the impact of the trip another student said: “This field trip was an important part of the course as it enriched professional knowledge, personal experience of different cultures, ethics and climate, while also offering a chance to bond with and learn from other architects, environmental consultants and colleagues across ocean.”

The trip also facilitated a series of new initiatives between the University of Sao Paulo and the University of Westminster, including research on the environmental analysis of the FAU building, publications and post-doctoral exchanges.

With students from 165 countries, staff from across the world and a highly international alumni community, the University of Westminster embraces global engagement in all its forms. We have a rich mix of international partnerships in over 20 countries worldwide, and place particular emphasis on providing international opportunities for our students. Our research addresses global themes and is sustained by international collaborations. We are an international institution, located in the heart of London.

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