PhD Program in Design


The Sense(s) of Portugal

The Sense(s) of Portugal:
Contemporary Life of Portuguese Heritage

Jelena Savić

Heritage is not only related to past, but also to our own time: heritage is about being selective on past artifacts, memories, traditions relevant for present identity and belonging to particular socio-cultural context. Heritage sites are “historical witnesses”, but they are also subjects to inevitable change over time.

What do places of heritage witness of our own epoch?

The work is focused on the built heritage of Portugal in the present time and on contemporary architecture with sensibility for the past. Methodological approach is based on the intricate concept of “sense”, linked both to bodily experience and to values and meanings of heritage sites. This is more universal than common strategies based on historical periods or stylistic characteristics.

Characteristic heritage sites across Portugal will be selected upon bibliographical and archival study. Their “sensory portraits” will be outlined and their present meanings investigated.

Research findings will offer an innovative external view to Portuguese heritage and cultural identity.


Ljubomir Stanišić, O Estendal do Bairro (Cod Fish Clothesline), 1998.

A stimulating example of approach to contemporary life of Portuguese heritage. Stanišić recently wrote a book (Papa Quilômetros, 2011), with the idea to present his journey through the portuguese gastronomy and offer its contemporary interpretation. Expanding the limits of a mere book of recipes and addressing the role of tradition and heritage in everyday life of Portuguese now, this work represents both an inspiration and a source for my own research.

Stanišić, the chef of Yugoslav origin and the owner of a restaurant in Lisbon, invented this dish in 1998, after he arrived to live and work in Portugal. The dish is a multiple-coded creative work, engaging senses and evoking associations: it is a reinterpretation of clotheslines seen in old Lisbon neighbourhoods, which also reflects his contemporary vision of the essence of Portuguese cuisine. A dish made of dried cod stomach brings about the memory of life in old times, when not everyone could afford best meat, and the remains (in this case tripes) had to be used among common people in most creative ways to make a quality meal. According to the chef, the way the dish is served is meant to evoke Alvaro Siza’s canopy of the Portuguese Pavillion, which he saw at the Expo 98 upon arrival.
Source: (accessed: October 15th, 2013).

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