Tiago is a Portuguese landscape architect and lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the University of Edinburgh, where he teaches design and theory. He joined academia in 2012 and is the current Programme Director of the MA in Landscape Architecture, at the Edinburgh College of Art. He also integrates the European Masters in Landscape Architecture (EMiLA) staff team and is currently an External Examiner at the University of Greenwich. Between 2011 and 2016 he was a Visiting Teaching Fellow in the PhD programme in Architecture at the University of Lisbon.
He spent five years working in practice at an internationally renowned practice studio in Lisbon, where he gained extensive experience in landscape architectural design, and regional and master planning in both urban and rural landscapes. He also co-founded Terramorfose Landscape Architects, based in Lisbon. In both roles, he was responsible for delivering award-winning proposals in international competitions, and also for managing the research and international communication teams.
Currently, he is doing a PhD in Architecture by Design where he investigates relations and reciprocities between the city and the geologic conditions in which it exists. His research focuses on representation as synthesis and construction of knowledge, and experiments on the island of Manhattan as the laboratory to test geosocial conditions of ground, frame, weight, accumulation, or thickness. Other relevant research interests include territorial transformation ecologies, urban and landscape change in Latin American cities, and applications and implications of digital media on the contemporary perceptions of the landscape. In June 2017, he co-chaired the international symposium Postcards from the Anthropocene and is currently preparing an edited book on the same topic.
He has published internationally and is the founder of CNTXT Studio, a research-by-design platform focusing on the study of landscape and its intersections with architecture, art, design and digital media.
In November 2018, Tiago was amongst the five winners of the international design ideas competition LA+ Iconoclast, with his proposal entitled ‘The Geoscraper of the Captive Biomes’.
Since Tiago joined ESALA in August 2012, he has been teaching different under- and post-graduate design and theory courses. After a few years teaching design in the early years of the MA in Landscape Architecture, he is currently teaching a post-graduate architectural and landscape architectural design studio looking at the island conditions of Manhattan. He also teaches contemporary landscape theory, with a strong focus on issues of representation and the Anthropocene debate.
Strongly supported by colleagues in the landscape department, Tiago led the development of the four-year structure of the MA in Landscape Architecture, a professional programme with full accreditation from the Landscape Institute. The first student cohort will graduate in the academic year of 2018/19. Tiago accumulates these experiences at ESALA with his current commitment with the European Masters in Landscape Architecture (EMiLA), his External Examiner role at the University of Greenwich, and his research and teaching links in Latin America. Tiago also held a visiting teaching fellowship in the PhD in Architecture programme at the Lisbon University Institute (2011–2016).
In design courses Tiago shares ESALA’s pedagogy of design through crafting as a conceptual process of iteration. He nurtures the culture of the studio as a protected yet highly motivational collective space where students can share their ideas, proposals and projects with their peers, tutors and reviewers. Outside core curriculum Tiago co-develops teaching activities that explore the boundaries and relationships between landscape architecture and related fields of knowledge. Videoscapes (2012/2013) focused on video as design tool to read, interpret and propose contemporary landscapes. Dronescapes (2017) explored the drone technology in innovative landscape readings. These activities have subsequently migrated into core undergraduate design studios.
Tiago believes that Landscape Architecture’s increasing scale in Europe only benefits with the creation of interesting, cross-disciplinary links with other international institutions. He strongly sustains the idea of landscape architectural education as a balance between scientific and artistic development and between design-led and research-led processes. He understands design practices as a possibility to promote live projects and to encourage social and cultural engagement between the university and the wider communities. He invites students to actively engage with complexity, expectation and with wider audiences by deliberately exposing them to life inside, in-between and outside academia.
Tiago develops research through practice, by constantly aligning design with research activities and by taking part in international competitions, exhibitions, design commissions, and consultation.
Tiago’s research interests focus on issues of representation of contemporary landscapes and territories. Representation is understood here as the reading, gathering, synthesis, and construction of knowledge related with landscape, including environmental change and social commitment. In his research, Tiago questions the limits of representation involved in recalibrations of scale, ground, frame, and weight conditions. Equally, he is interested in studying the potential of landscape to be or become a mediator of encounters and facilitator of dialogues between human and non-human agencies.
Stemming from an interest in the Anthropocene theory and the debate it has originated, these research interests focus more specifically on complex assemblages of the geologic, and how they open up discussion about spatial and temporal change across scale, and questions of ground and frame involved in geopolitical representation. In June 2017, he co-chaired the international symposium Postcards from the Anthropocene and is currently preparing an edited book on the same topic (2020, published with DPR-Barcelona).
Through his on-going part-time PhD in Architecture by Design (supervised by Prof Mark Dorrian and Prof Emily Brady), Tiago further explores issues of representation stemming from the Anthropocene debate, by delineating a line of enquiry around the relations and reciprocities between the city’s complex field of operations and the geologic conditions in which it forcefully exists. Departing from the belief that design is a situated practice, he explores the island of Manhattan as the laboratory to experiment with tools and methods that potentially recalibrate our reading and understanding of the island-city’s geo-conditions. Research activities, including public exhibitions and published written pieces, have recently been complemented with a graduate design studio to landscape and architecture students.
From 2015 until 2017 Tiago was also involved in MUI, a research project investigating urban innovation in Medellín (Colombia) and its effects on social equity and well-being (Newton Institutional Links Grant from the British Council).