Azores | Design with and for Nature

In this 3-week travel course, students will learn about design with nature, by designing for nature. The volcanic archipelago of the Azores, situated along the mid-Atlantic Ocean ridge, was the location and context.


Global Summer Studies
  • Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal
Summer 2024

Course Dates: Jun 8, 2024 — Jun 30, 2024

Open to RISD students, Brown University students, non-RISD students

2.5 GPA required. Non-RISD participants see eligibility requirements below.

  • Sustainability
  • Cultural Ecology
  • Forestry
  • Design Installation
  • Craft
Program Partners

Walk & Talk, Innovation Green Azores, University of Azores

Academic Credits
  • Architecture
  • Industrial Design
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
Course Numbers
  • ARCH-1560-01

Included tuition, accommodation, in-country transportation, field trips, entrance fees, some group meals and international travel health insurance.

Azores: Walk and Work with Wood
Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal 2019
Azores: Walk and Work with Wood
Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal 2019

About this Travel Course

Course Description

Islands nations are at the forefront of climate change as their specific geography makes them more susceptible to the destructive power of storms and rising oceans. As the need for regenerative design accelerates, islands have the potential to act as incubators and leaders in green designed futures. This course will examine design with nature, by designing for the nature of the Azores.

In the first part of the course, we take several walks through forests, fields and the water’s edge of Sao Miguel, the Azores' largest island, to explore the cultural/ecological networks. We will consider walking as a means of observation and a way to collect and generate thoughts. Each walk will be connected to daily exercises. Concurrently, we will examine the potential of local biomaterials by working with our colleagues from the University of Azores and with our partners at BioKairos Projecto Materia, a beautiful organic farm at the edge of Ponta Delgada.

Taking from these observations and material explorations, the final week will include work at VAGA – a space for art and knowledge, where students will work in small teams to develop full scale mock-ups for a bee and butterfly pavilion for Bio Kairos. We will end with a celebration and an exhibit of the final projects with our partners and members of the larger community.

Office bw resized

1:1 Advising Session

Have questions? The RISD Global team is available to meet for a 1:1 advising session. We can give you more information about your study options, help you figure out which program makes sense for you, and assist you with the application process.

Schedule an Appointment


No upcoming events for this program at this time.


No announcements for this program.