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Integrated Researcher

Mónica Pacheco

research interests

Tropical Architecture, Architectural Education, Post colonial studies, Housing, Urbanism

Short Bio

Mónica Pacheco is an architect, graduated in Faculdade de Arquitetura of Universidade Técnica de Lisboa, with a Master in Housing and Urbanism from the Architectural Association in London and a PhD entitled “Genealogies of the grounds in architecture. Contributions for an archaeology of knowledge representation”.


She worked in architectural offices in Portugal and the Netherlands, namely UnStudio and OMA, collaborating in projects such as Jardim do Tabaco in Lisbon, the Institutsgebaude für Oper und Orchester in Graz, Ponte Parodi in Genoa and Casa da Música in Oporto.


She is Assistant Professor at ISCTE-IUL in Lisbon, teaching design studios since 2004, Visiting Teacher at the University of Salerno since 2013 and Guest Professor at the Artesis University College Antwerp in 2014. Member and researcher of CIAAM and DINÂMIA-CET, she has published papers in the context of international conferences, and organized several “research by design” workshops.


Currently she is enrolled in the international investigation “Housing for the biggest number: Lisboa, Luanda, Macau”.

research project at dinâmia'cet-Iscte

The international style and modernist aesthetics are a western by-product. Nevertheless, it was in the so-called “global south”, or “developing world”, where some of the more radical experiences took place. The recognition of this phenomena has been extensively analysed by scholars, who brought to light the work of Corbusier in India, of Fry and Drew in Ghana, of the Smithsons in Kuwait, or the strength of Brazilian modern architecture. Other scholarship has focused on “regionalisms”, i.e. knowledge transfers from European and American models and their subsequent adaptation to the local conditions of the “tropics”, in particular climate.


However, the possibility of other knowledge exchange and influences have been underestimated. This research on the history of the Department of Tropical Architecture at the AA (1954-71), pointing the development of a highly sophisticated body of expertise, yet marginalized, grounded there. The department received over 500 students from almost 80 countries, creating a truly global, transnational network that has imprinted a considerable influence in the urban landscape of many of the 20th century newly independent countries. Furthermore, it is intended to demonstrate the corpus left by the Department —not only through the still existing DPU at the Bartlett, UCL —, but also through its evolvement with the launch of schools in countries such as Ghana and Costa Rica, its consultancy in worldwide projects, and in pioneering projects such as the Housing Extension Service.


Through it, it is intended to argue the existence of a southern knowledge transfer, able to create the conditions for a transnational and non-European discourse on Tropicality. Furthermore, the aim of this study is to unravel the existence of a post-colonial urban and architectural discourse independent of the former ruling countries.

Main publications

Pacheco, Mónica, 2016. Emotional city mapping through the Innocence of objects. In Martins, Susana S. and Reverseau, Anne (eds) Paper Cities. Urban Portraits in photographic books. Leuven University Press, Leuven, pp.151-168. ISBN 9789462700581.

Pacheco, Mónica, 2015. Looking blue may not mean being blue: on southern mass housing. In Proceedings of the International Conference Changing Cities II. Gospodini, Aspa, Porto Heli, Peloponesse, Greece. ISBN 978-960-6865-88-6

Pacheco, Mónica. 2014.The challenge of representation through performing arts after Velasquez and Foucault in Performing Arts and Public Space. Performing Arts Conference, Pp.132-138. Dakam, Istambul, ISBN 978-605-5120-97-9

Pacheco, Mónica. 2014. The rise of Social Dystopia or Optimistic Suburbia? The Case of Portela in Rethinking the Informality, Pp.455-468, Contemporary Urban Issues Conference. Dakam, Istambul, ISBN 978-605-5120-91-7.

Pacheco, Mónica. 2013. Translations of literary fiction to architectural narratives: an experiment with Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Literature and Urban Space Lit Cri’13 Conference proceedings, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University - Dakam, Istambul, ISBN 978-975-6264-94-2.

Main projects

Coast to Coast - Late Portuguese Infrastructural Development in Continental Africa (Angola and Mozambique): Critical and Historical Analysis and Postcolonial Assessment

Last update

23 de maio de 2023
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