New Houses for Tamera

Architecture for a Future Community

From March 29th-April 1st 60 architecture students from Darmstadt (Germany) and Lisbon visited Tamera. This study time was initiated by Professor Carl Fingerhuth from Switzerland. The students had the task to learn about the basic principles of Tamera, to study the landscape conditions and the ecological and social conditions set by the community, and to design architectural projects for communal living. They focused on the co-worker areas of the Testfield 1 and of the Country House (Landhaus).

On Sunday the teams presented the resulting projects to the Tamera community and to their professors. Barbara Kovats: “I am happy and surprised to see how well students who are used to work on urban areas could cope with our unusual conditions”. A big challenge was, again and again, to combine sober and straight shapes with organic shapes, like the tree, the snake, the spine, or the footprint. 

Carl Fingerhuth: “For the students, the task was completely new. They had to design something out of ground zero, within a very short time frame. Today we’ve received some hints that point to a possible direction for the architectural development of Tamera.” He explained the difference between building like a hedgehog – which means that each house is built as far as possible from the other houses – and building like a fox: Between all living units there is the greatest possible level of connection and communication.

To develop a community architecture with overlapping private and public spaces, meeting places and hiding spaces, using natural building material and creating contact zones with nature has been, and will continue to be an exciting task. In Tamera we hope that we can soon start to concretely manifest also the architectural aspects of a future model settlement. We thank everyone who contributed to these interesting four days, in particular the accompanying professors: Prof. Anett-Maud Joppien and her team of the Technical University of Darmstadt, Fachgebiet Entwerfen und Gebäudetechnologie, and Prof. Teresa Madeira da Silva an her team from the Department of Architecture and Urbanism (DAU) of ISCTE.

More about DAU: "The Department of Architecture and Urbanism (DAU) of ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute, was created through a novel approach to higher education in architecture. The scientific areas within the broad discipline of architecture are envisaged as sources of reflexion that inform the several teaching programmes. Students are therefore exposed to the diversity of a comprehensive architectural design activity, thus gaining the required competencies.


The insertion of DAU within ISCTE-IUL takes advantage of unique synergies in architectural education. Other significant scientific expertise existing in ISCTE-IUL contributes to DAU’s programmes. It is the case of computer sciences and information technologies, multimedia, sociology, public policies, anthropology, economy and business management.


In a teaching process based on architectural experimentation, the synthesis of different types of knowledge towards architectural design contributes to a civic and ethical awareness which is considered as most relevant to the quality of architecture."


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