Material Study
Aug 2022

During a two week workshop, I joined up with a team of architects, designers, and makers to design and build a shade structure for the University of Évora’s Arts and Architecture campus.

With the help of Señor Domingos and Señor Fernando, traditional basket weavers from Portugal, we learned to harvest, clean, cut, and thin cane, (Arundo Donax) to prepare it for different aspects of the structure. We also used Wicker (Salix viminalis) to join elements of the structure.

The structure is made of 7 large woven panels. We selected the longest canes to bundle and bend into arches. This has to be done when the cane is freshly harvested and has more water content and flexibility. These arches make up the two sides of the panels. By cutting and thinning the cane, we prepared long strips that we could use to weave the panels. Before beginning the weaving process, we tied smaller horizontal pieces to the arches to create the warp.

This project was made possible by the design and build summer school organized by Passao Futuro, Astrid and Fatima, our artisan teachers, Señor Domingos and Señor Fernando and our 3D design and climate modeling mentors, Adrian and Mateo from DosTec. We thank the University of Évora and the team that welcomed us into their space for this intense experimentation and material study.

First 6 photos by © Fu Qiang, Second 10 Photos ©Julia Steketee