Filter Menu Close
2023Portraits of a Portuguese House survival in a Radioactive Wildernesspublication
2023Monster fightspublication
2023A huge platform for Decarbonisationpublication
2022Refractions (Nuno Cera, Distant Lights)exhibition text
2022Lost Zoneeditorial research
2021Limen (Pedro Vaz, Limen)exhibition text
2021Prelude to an Analysis of Borders, in Marquespaper
2020Domestic Dustsbooklet
2020The Nuclear in The Ural Montainspaper
2019Who's the Savage in our Reservations?publication
2019Burying Solid Waste Problemspublication
2019Omega (Yota Ayaan, Omega)exhibition text
2019Reversible Deskobject
2018Dirty Paths for a Green Mandatepublication
2018Nos Antrópicosexhibition review
2017450 Meters Deep into 1 Million Years Safetypublication
2017Building Risk Reservespaper
2017Rolling Stonesvideo
2017Trick tickling clockobject
2017Keeping in ReservePhD thesis
2016Panorama Boa Vistaexhibition text
2015Pripyat (1999)publication
2015Questioning the Reservepaper
2015Rooftop Issueeditorial research
2015Multimanifestoeditorial research
2014MAS and the Reserves of Future Catastrophepaper
2013Contested Symmetries & Other Predicamentspublication
2012Anti-nuclear Bunkers IIbook of copies
2012Pillars of Herculespostcard
2011Islands of Light and Steelpublication
2010A Letter to the Zoologistspublication
2009Coll()sionMres thesis
2007On the Techno-SublimeMa thesis
2006Lamp for Outletsobject
200701-Armazém do cháarchitecture

Joana Rafael (b.1979) is an architect practitioner, researcher and writer, currently based in Porto. Holds a PhD in Visual Cultures and a MRes in Research Architecture from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a MA from the Metropolis program, once administered by the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona. She dedicates herself to the development of projects and provides architectural consultancy. As a researcher, Joana develops interdisciplinary work centred on (issues of) ecology, contemporary, digital and material culture, technology and natural sciences. Uses writing as a research tool. Joana received the Erasmus+ grant (2001), FCT´s PhD Research Scholarship (2008), a study grant from Concordia University, Montreal (2008) and the Research (2019) and Production (2020) grant from Digital Cultures, Creative Industries NL, Netherlands - which led to the development of Lost Zone: Hiking the Dawn of the Metaverse, published by ViaIndustriae, Italia. Joana has been Assistant Professor at Central St. Martins, London (2009 – 2015), the University of Creative Arts, Canterbury (2013–15), the Instituto de Ciências Educativas, Penafiel (2017–20) and Escola Superior Artística do Porto (2020-2022). Teaches Contextual Studies and Contemporary Culture-related courses, and is a member of ISPUP (Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto) and CEGOT (Center for Studies in Geography and Spatial Planning). Joana is also a certified farmer.

PhD thesis About

Keeping in Reserve

Visual Cultures, Goldsmith, London


This thesis concerns architecture and engages with redefining architecture in terms of its relation to acts and structures of reservation, both posited as causes of, and as solutions to Earth crises – i.e crises related to human-induced threats to, or arising from, the planetary environment. Here, what is meant by “reservation” is the production of (and the) arrangements to secure and keep apart – i.e. in reserve/s – things perceived as threatening to humanity or vital to its survival. In addition, the term here refers to another aspect of reservation - the expression of doubt regarding the efficacy of such arrangements.
This thesis contends that, despite being intended to act as architectural solutions, agents or safeguards for the future and safety of (human) life on the planet, by failing to respect the inescapably interconnected nature of the environment and the reciprocity of its processes -
their extensive, cumulative and temporal qualities – reserve arrangements exacerbate rather than lessen the problems they set out to address. These assimilate the very structure and pattern of crises they attempt to resolve, and keep morphologically reproducing the ill effects
of threats - thus, not only exposing architecture and the reserve fragile limits but, ultimately, cementing them as fictions.
This argument is made in relation to attempts to guard and defend against three categories of threat from Earth crises: destruction and danger; depletion of natural and artificial resources; contamination and pollution. These are read through ‘voiced reservations’ from the fields of Arts, critical theory, Earth (and social) sciences, radical ecology, speculative philosophy, cultural studies, architectural theory and even science fiction, which offer theoretical means to reflect on general laws of acting upon the planet and in relation to the future. Problematising the construction of the planet through the logic of the reserve, this thesis calls for new methodological engagements.

online at: