Dr Bárbara Maçães Costa


I am an architect and academic working with art-based methods of environmental criticism and design. I studied architecture at the University of Porto, drawing at the University of Lisbon, and have a Ph.D. in architecture and urban sciences from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). Outside academia, I have worked mainly in landscape and urbanism. My research spans these disciplines with a focus on environmental aesthetics in architecture. More specifically, I study and map the dialectical tension between objects and landscapes within the postwar contextualism debate. I am currently Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the Kingston School of Art (KSA) in London, where I am based, and part-time External Lecturer at the EPFL.

Academic responsibilities

Senior Lecturer and Strand Leader in Representation


  • PhD in Architecture and Sciences of the City, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL, 2021).
  • Master in Drawing, Faculty of Fine Arts University of Lisbon (FBAUL, 2016).
  • Licentiate in Architecture, Faculty of Architecture University of Porto (FAUP, 2008).

Teaching and learning

My teaching focuses on the relationship between architecture and landscape. I have approached this question in the context of theoretical seminars on modernist environmental aesthetics, landscape-based design studios, and mixed units focusing on representation, particularly cartography. In all cases, my aim is to challenge the perception of buildings as fetishised icons and present them instead as environmental artefacts that embody certain histories and ideologies.

Undergraduate courses taught

Postgraduate courses taught


My research interests include: the limits and continuities between architecture and landscape in terms of aesthetic discourse and practice; the tension between site and drawing as the primary locus of the project; the role of drawing as a mediator between theory (the concept) and practice (the object); the Marxist debate between autonomy and realism in the neo-avant-garde; the legacies of cartography within the Enlightenment project and its (post)modernist critiques.

I draw primarily on the theoretical framework of dialectical criticism and work with the methods of drawing, cartography, and the visual essay. I am currently preparing a book manuscript entitled 'Objects and Landscapes, a Cartographic Mediation', which presents a synthesis of my research and teaching over the past decade.

Areas of specialism

  • Architecture
  • Landscape
  • Drawing / Cartography
  • Modernist environmental aesthetics
  • Dialectical criticism