Posted on: 14th February 2019


During the third edition of our intensive 3 weeks summer school, we’ll refurbish an affordable housing configuration and work on heating and insulation prototypes. The design process is participative, and students will learn woodworking, metal work and experiment with sustainable heating strategies — see our research stand on our blog. We’re currently working with insulation made of reclaimed cardboard, mycelium and industrial leftovers of wool. In the last years we also developed an efficient wood stove model made from the popular designs of rocket stoves.


The open call for early birds is open until March 3rd, 2019 latest.
Summer school will take place from 5th till 25th of August 2019 in Porto, Portugal.


Details of summerschool 2019

Porto, August 5th-25th 2019

The annual Summer school is a design/build educational format with tangible social impact that is capable of filling the gap in architectural education, which is often being separated from construction. The crucial skills for architectural profession that Critical Concrete provides, is gained while improving housing conditions of local families in need.

Critical Concrete reflects on a paradigmatic shift in the role of architect in today’s society. Rather than contributing to autonomous building-making that often disregard the context of the architectural intervention, it promotes a position of a citizen with expertise, who acts from within the community.

International students gain a valuable hands-on experience by thinking through making, in the design/build tradition, while networking with other like-minded people and exchanging their skills and knowledge. Get inspired by the theoretical input given by recognized local and international mentors during the whole process of the project!

The Summer School format itself was initiated with the aim of answering the question: how to refurbish a socially relevant place with no money and an enriching project for its participants?

The activities designed at Critical Concrete aim to bring young students real life challenges, giving them not only knowledge and experience in the field, but providing them with a unique and diverse set of skills.

From the course, students will gain a mix of practical work and theoretical input while learning how to collectively design and build social architecture, with restricted budget and time.
The participants of the summer school will be introduce to our Research Lab about insulation and heating for impoverished populations. They get the opportunity to know, experiment and apply our research on prototyping insulated panels with recycled wool, cardboard, mycelium and alternative heating systems as the rocket stove. We are looking forward to incorporate the current research on green roofing and alternatives to cement into the upcoming programme. All our research is published under Creative Common Licence on our Blog.

Our ambition is to provide an alternative way of teaching, learning and creating architecture, art and design. For that, we run workshops and summer school programs combining both theoretical and practical activities, fostering sustainability in all its levels. All of these actions happen in close collaboration with the communities using the tackled spaces.


Week 1 – design, feedback sessions & first working steps
Week 2/3 – building

The 140 hours course will consist of:

Monday-Friday 9am – 5pm

Monday-Friday 6pm – 7.30pm

Either on the first Saturday or Sunday, students have an architectural visit of the city (tour split in 2 groups)

Course leader

The course will be conducted by an international team of great teachers and Students receive a certificate edited by the Escola Superior Artística do Porto (ESAP), Architecture School in Porto.

Please visit our website for more information.

Target group

• Architecture and design professionals, graduates, students and PhD-students, engineers, makers, DIYers, builders, artists in their respective fields. People who want to engage with the practice and learn how to build and meet people with inspiring background and know-how.
• People who want to get a first experience in building with a theoretical input, so to start their own projects, with the support of our network.
• In general, all people interested in sustainable construction and social engagement.

Not sure to fit? Get in touch with us!

Course aim

This social and sustainable architecture summer school is a design/build courses that aims to:
1 – Participate in the refurbishment of places of social interest (one social housing configuration, a production space, public spaces)
2 – Collectively design and build. Participatory processes in social architecture
3 – Contribute to the neighbourhood’s cultural life, by opening our doors for some theoretical courses, evening and screenings
4 – Development of high quality furnitures and architecture with a small budget and restricted time.
5 – Offer the students a new language of skills and techniques, both in community engagement and building strategies.
6 – Offer the students a supportive network for their future project and their promotion, opening new professional perspectives.
7 – Offer a good mix of practical work, monitored by international and local mentors, and theoretical work, all this working in the frame of a social work engagement.

Credits info

The accreditation by universities is not guaranteed, nonetheless, our alumni got 2 ECTS when claiming convalidation to their respective universities.

Fee info

EUR 990: Early Bird – Until March 3rd
EUR 1190: Late Bird – After March 3rd


Online application on until May, 26


Full programme
How to apply
Website Critical Concrete
Facebook Critical Concrete
Instagram Critical Concrete
Summer School 2016
Summer School 2017
Summer School 2018