Garden of Framed Scenes

The Garden of Framed Scenes situates itself at a crossroads within Fontelo Park and transforms a space of flows into a space of gathering. While the outer geometry of the triangle relates to the site’s paths, the internal square geometry frames a mise-en-scène for collective performance.
Inspired by local painter Grão Vasco’s technique of framing the background environment into the collective scene of the foreground, the project uses a series of framed openings to recontextualize the surrounding environment. Within the piece, foreground and background are collapsed yet framed, while the position of audience and performer is also oscillating.

Technical Details

Garden of Framed Scenes, 2018

Author: The Open Workshop
Project Team: Neeraj Bhatia, Jared Clifton, Shawn Komlos, Hayfa Al-Gwaiz
13 x 10 m
Wood, Steel, Concrete Finish
Mata do Fontelo / 40.6572150, -7.8995940
[On display between 2018 and 2020]

Author's words

Neeraj Bhatia

The Open Workshop is an architectural urbanism practice that focuses on the relationship between form and territory. Specifically, the firm is interested in the agency of form to impact political, economic, and ecological systems. Using a transcalar approach to design research, the office straddles a complex line between permanence and ephemerality, control and choice, legibility and illegibility, the individual and the collective, determinacy and indeterminacy, the figure and the field. The office name, The Open Workshop, is a reference to Umberto Eco’s 1962 treatise The Open Work. The office is dedicated to evolving Eco’s concept into architecture by expanding the subject to include the pluralistic public realm and transforming environmental context. In 2016, The Open Workshop was awarded the Architectural League Young Architects Prize as well as the Emerging Leaders Award from Design Intelligence.

Neeraj Bhatia is a licensed architect and urban designer from Toronto, and the founder of The Open Workshop. His work resides at the intersection of politics, infrastructure, and urbanism. He is an assistant professor at California College of the Arts, where he also codirects the urbanism research lab The Urban Works Agency. Prior to CCA, Bhatia held teaching positions at Cornell University, Rice University, and the University of Toronto. Select distinctions include the Emerging Leaders Award from DesignIntelligence, Graham Foundation Grants, the Lawrence B. Anderson Award, Shell Center for Sustainability Grant, Odebrecht first prize Award for Sustainability, ACSA Faculty Design Award, and the Fulbright Fellowship. He is the coeditor of the books Bracket [Takes Action], The Petropolis of Tomorrow, Bracket [Goes Soft], and Arium: Weather + Architecture, and co-author of Pamphlet Architecture 30: Coupling—Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism. He has a master’s degree in architecture and urbanism from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and bachelor of architecture from the University of Waterloo.

Location between 2018-2020

Fontelo Woods
Viseu, Portugal
40.6572150, -7.8995940