STAGED NATURE · Zoo of zoos

design, research

“Staged Nature – Zoo of Zoos” offers an opportunity to reflect on the role of the zoos and zoological gardens on our contemporary cities, with a special focus on the Lisbon Zoo the oldest in the Iberian Peninsula.

The zoo originally was located in the Parque de S. Sebastião – where today are Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation headquarters – and later transferred to Quinta das Laranjeiras (1905), with the project of the Portuguese architect Raul Lino built between 1935 and 1972.

“Staged Nature” by pais(vi)agem and Mies. TV

Through a continuous chronological parallelism between past-present-future – which will become the fil rouge that joins all the elements of the virtual exhibition – the idea is to understand how this specific typology evolved into the current century and to answer the main questions: Is there a reason to still have zoos in 2020? Which are the new components and necessities of staging the nature in an urban environment?

The chronological tool lays a fundamental role in creating a narrative which connects the past (the architect’s original project), the present (current tendencies and perspective of various key figures involved) and future (which are the possibilities of regeneration for tomorrow). During the entire expo, we will fluctuate continuously between these three spheres of time in order to offer different views on the same architectural space.

The Lisbon Zoo project map by the architect Raul Lino / courtesy of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

“Staged Nature – Zoos of Zoos” is a virtual exhibition curated by Enrico Porfido and Claudia Sani – país(vi)agem – with Arian Lehner and Theresa Margraf – Mies.TV. The projects aims to fulfill three main objectives through visual displaying:

· PAST / Valorizing the architecture of Raul Lino with a selection of his drawings of the Lisbon zoo from the archive of Gulbenkian Art Library.
· PRESENT / Understanding the status quo and diverse views of people related to the zoo with a series of targeted interviews, generating debate and thoughts.
· FUTURE / Based on the interviews’ results, to draw future scenarios.

The exhibition will be inaugurated in October 2020. More information are available here.

The virtual exhibition “Staged Nature – Zoos of Zoos” is curated by Enrico Porfido and Claudia Sani – pais(vi)agem – and Arian Lehner and Theresa Margarf – @miestvcom. This is an initiative of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation as a member of the Future Architecture Platform, a project co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

PAIS(VI)AGEM · guidelines for Guaraqueçaba Bay

design, research

Tourism and landscape form part of an interactive binomial of dependence: there is no tourist development without a landscape; it also seems that landscapes, especially those called cultural landscapes, need tourism as an economic activity to be sustained (Goula, Spanou and Perez Rumpler, 2012 · download).

Pais(vi)agem aims to introduce the ecotourism concept in the norther area of Paranà State in Brazil – the Guaraqueçaba bay – working at two different scales, from the territory to the architectonic objects. Pais(vi)agem transfers the Lerner’s Urban Acupuncture theory to the landscape, through small-size interventions on natural landscapes that influences the whole territory.

The waterfront of Guaraqueçaba / pictures by Enrico Porfido, Claudia Sani and Elsa Montecchi

The project gives a structure to the existing touristic system, integrating and enhancing this spontaneous cluster. Guaraqueçaba becomes a natural-sportive-scientific hub around which natural hotspots gravitate. It provides the main touristic services – accommodation, restaurants, infrastructures, etc – since it is better linked with the region, while the hotspots are one-day destinations.

The cluster strategy avoids the worthless construction of infrastructures, promoting no-carbon emission transportation solutions (as kayak, bike, sailing boat), and it controls the touristic fluxes, protecting and valorising the natural heritage. Funds saved are re-invested in territorial promotion, protection, valorisation and formation in order to make citizens aware of their own territory value.

Tourism cluster connections in the Bay of Guaraqueçaba / designed by Claudia Sani and Enrico Porfido

Guaraqueçaba Square design is the main project intervention in order to transform the city in the network activator centre. The project is a simple addition to the existing waterfront of a wooden platform that re-draw the coastline both in terms of shape and functions. The pier becomes the fundamental link between land and sea. 

The new city asset / drawing by Claudia Sani and Enrico Porfido

The acupuncture interventions around the bay are entirely designed in wood and built according to traditional techniques for emphasizing the strong relation with the territory. They create a new landscape from the existing one. The four typologies differ in approach to the coastline, but are generated by the same module 2x2m.

The walk among mangroves allows to appreciate the coastline variation from close-by, driving the tourist to cross the threes branches. The bird-watching tower instead offers a panoramic view and permit to enjoy it from its top. The dolphins observation platform turns upside down the ordinary viewpoint, forcing the observant to watch the landscape from the water. The sambaquis barrier joins two functions, protecting the archeological heritage and disclosing it to the surrounding giving the possibility to stand close and contemplate it.

The micro-architectures designed with local materials / designed by Claudia Sani and Enrico Porfido

Pais(vi)agem deals with sustainability not only in terms of technological solutions and flexibility, but also social impact on communities. The local materials use and the idea of recovering the traditional techniques are functional to a formative process addressed to the bay citizens. Pais(vi)agem promotes a sustainable approach in the touristic process in order to emphasize its action on landscape and communities. The installation of the micro-architectures around the bay want to start an awareness process about territorial identity for proving that it is a “common heritage” that needs to be both preserved and enjoyed.



Porfido, E. & Sani, C. (2018) PAIS(VI)AGEM – Tourism as opportunity for valorisation and protection of natural and cultural landscapes in the Bay of Guaraqueçaba, Brazil. Paesaggio Urbano, Volume 3/2018 (60-67). Rimini: Maggioli Editore. · download

“PAIS(VI)AGEM Tourism, infrastructures and natural heritage: guidelines for Guaraqueçaba Bay regeneration, Paranà, Brazil” is the Master Thesis in Architecture by Claudia Sani and Enrico Porfido, tutored by Luca Emanueli, Alessandro Cambi – Ferrara University – and Marta Gabardo – PUCPR Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná, Curitiba. The thesis was defended in March 2015 at Ferrara University.

PASEO METAMÓRFICO · a comic about a territorial injustice


Pina and John are travelling to Barcelona for the first time and they are so looking forward to jump in the sea. Once landed, they figured out that there is a huge portion the city facing the sea but without possibility of interaction: the Port Vell. A series of obstacles are physically dividing them from the water, generating a strong discomfort.

They will have to circumnavigate completely the entire area before arriving to Barceloneta beach and start swimming!!! And they ask themselves “is it fair to preclude to the most such an important resource as the sea?”.

The fence ends representing the territorial injustice perpetuated among the city. What can we do to give back to people – both residents and tourists – a space of the city which should belong to them? A series of ephemeral, metamorphic and light interventions to transform this area in a place for everybody is a possible answer. The idea of John and Pina is to organise a festival on this metamorphic waterfront, or why not more than one!

The dolphins of the Barcelona aquarium would be swimming and enjoying this space, as far as rowers and other athletes. Concerts, shows and performance can take place on floating platforms. More and more ideas are coming to their mind, and you? What would you like to do in the Port Vell of Barcelona? Comments your proposals and we will forward it to our beloved John and Pina. And do not forget to read the complete comic down here!


“Un paseo metamórfico · un comic sobre la injusticia territorial” has been elaborated in the framework of the Master Metropolis – Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, April 2020.