Performance Architecture has emerged as a term from two distinct, but coinciding approaches of the New York practitioner Alex Schweder and the Portuguese writer Pedro Gadahno in 2007. In both cases it is seen as a continuum of performance art and, according to the second approach, it is the means for architecture to become critical of its field in the present, and to connect with its social political and cultural dimension.

The Viral Institute of Performance Architecture(VIPA) aims to develop the correlation between performance practices and architectural practices expanding the way that architecture has so far been taught, perceived, made and thought through. The Institute focuses on defining Performance Architecture as a movement in architecture of the 21st century, by undertaking practical, educational and theoretical work.

If there is one thing that has not yet been utilised enough in the architectural design, architectural thinking and making, this is the human body, not as a passive inhabitant of space, but as an active place maker and data-base that could further inform a design process and a design form. The Institute  puts forward the idea of the architect as not only the designer, the maker, the observer but also the performer: the ‘thinking’ body. The ‘thinking’ body operates as a drawing, sculpting,  measuring and cognitive tool introducing the idea of Improvisation Architecture. The Institute conceives the architectural drawing in terms of movement and time like ‘scoring’ in dance terms. It stretches it out of the paper by making it inhabitable introducing at the same time the terms ‘Notational Drawing’ and ‘Notational Space’. Part of the Institute’s activities is to engage with public spaces giving a broader meaning to Performance Architecture within the urban context and planning.

 The Institute functions on an educational, epistemological and performative level.

It organises workshops, lectures, talks and film-screenings that would help increase awareness of what Performance Architecture is as well as define the term through public making.

It collaborates with similar, non-similar or intersecting minded people/organisations/platforms, for further creative and experimental conjugations.

It curates exhibitions and creates installations that explore Performance Architecture practically, giving to it a solid dimension in the architectural world.


  • Architecture is not static and monolithic but in constant flux, same as the human body.
  • Space is considered as an extension of our bodies and our bodies as an extension of space.
  • The human body is a drawing, thinking, making, sculpting and cognitive tool.
  • To a further extent the architect is or could be the performer, the maker, the observer (audience) or all at the same time.
  • Concept follows action. There is no theory without its practical application, experimentation and proof of concept in the physical space, preferably in scale 1:1.
  • Form follows ‘process’. We invent methodologies and processes in order to arrive into a design form.
  • To Design Through Performance is to Improvise (in) Architecture .
  • Design Through Performance as equivalent to Design through Data.
  • The 2D architectural drawing rises out of the ‘page’ into the 4 dimensions. That is Notational Space.
  • The 2D architectural drawing is seen as the equivalent of ‘scoring’ in dance. That is  the Notational Drawing.
  • Notational Drawing expresses architecture not in its form but in its experience, movement and time.
  • Notational Space is the physicalisation of the Notational Drawing in 3D space.
  • Engage with technology in innovative ways but never let technology drive the project. Technology is always a creative addition.
  • Architecture is connected with the human body both in its experience and in its making.
  • Challenge the form of existing typologies in architecture by exploring design as a process linked to the human body.
  • Engage the community as part of public and spatial making.


  • How would architecture look like if it was danced rather than drawn on paper?
  • How can performance influence architecture in an urban scale?
  • At what point human bodies can be perceived as structures?
  • In which ways can architecture borrow key dance and choreographic techniques in order to arrive into a design?
  • How can movement be implemented in and influence teaching methodologies and techniques in architecture?
  • How can existing design typologies be understood and challenged seen through the lenses of movement and architecture?

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