Itinerant Platform Media Archive

Project Description


︎Studios and Short Modules

Emil Seehusen
Other Educational references   

Royal Danish Academy

Royal Danish Academy

Traveling Studio
Royal Danish Academy

Traveling Studio
Royal Danish Academy

Royal Danish Academy

Workshop Proposal

Royal Danish Academy

©2022 Emil Seehusen


The architect's studio is increasingly migrating onto online platforms, and studio paraphernalia such as drawing tables, pin-up spaces, and rolls of tracing paper is being replaced with ‘infinite whiteboards,’ ’digital canvases,’ and ‘mixed-reality desks.’ This shift breaks down barriers for working across locations and time zones and holds promise for new forms of architectural communities of practice, not least between practitioners in the Global South and North.

Jean Lave & Etienne Wenger “Communities of practice, a brief introduction,” 2015
The subject of the proposed research project is the advent of the digital design studio as an increasingly pivotal site for architectural knowledge production by examining how the digital studio can lead to practices more perceptible to a diversity of informants, contexts, and local knowledge when global communities of practitioners are concerned. The practice-based Ph.D. investigates the subject through a sequence of intercontinental design workshops that will attempt to address ecological and urban issues through joined glocal perspectives and incorporate non-western narratives and forms of knowledge in a collective design process.

Donna J. Haraway, “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective,” Feminist Studies, Vol. 14, No. 3 (Autumn, 1988), pp. 575-599, 1988
The proposal draws on pre-established networks of practitioners and institutions from North America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central Europe and the principal investigator’s experience in organizing collaborations between researchers in the Global South and North. These planned 'test sites' extend a track record of conducting trans-continental workshops and are enabled by pre-established agreements with the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the Royal Danish Academy of Arts, and two architecture schools in sub-Saharan Africa (Somaliland and Djibouti).
Each workshop will be connected with existing studios or research departments at established institutions. The ‘joined studio’ will support their separate agendas, emphasizing landscape visualization, diverse geographies, mapping, and context fabrication, including experimentation with developing new drawing instruments.

The research aims to understand how the ecology of factors surrounding digital platforms facilitates or impedes digital-first design studios and collaborations and to situate digital platforms as a particular form of instrumentalization of knowledge. Congruent with optimizing computability and communicability across their networks, platforms standardize knowledge forms within predefined domains of representational possibilities. The study will argue that this trait, fundamental to ubiquitous platforms, is detrimental to online architectural design and research studios, and the notion of attentive ‘itinerant platforms’ due to;

Bratton, Benjamin “The Stack”, 2015, The MIT Press. ‘platforms and stack, Model and Machine’ / ‘Platforms’

“Platforms centralize and decentralize at once, drawing many actors into a common infrastructure. They distribute some forms of autonomy to the edges of its networks while also standardizing conditions of communications between them”,. p. 46

  • Misrepresentation or censoring of data and local knowledge, which does not conform or is quantifiable with a particular platform.
  • Closed system architectures of most proprietary software resist spontaneous new mediums, techniques, and method development, which are often integral to innovative design studios or establishing novel practices.
  • Further, designers do not merely sketch, draft, or model ideas purely for representational purposes, insofar as manipulating materials, techniques, procedures, and design problems coalesce in an ongoing iterative process.
  • And based on the principal investigators’ observations, the same sharing platforms may be experienced differently by practitioners due to situating factors such as cultural preferences, economic or technical barriers, misplacing agency to those who have the technical or computational sustenance to take full advantage of a particular platform.

See Mimi Onuoha’s notion of Missing Data Sets -, in which she draws attention to how certain forms of information are overlooked for various reasons, such as

“The data to be collected resist simple quantification (corollary: we prioritize collecting things that fit our modes of collection)” and “The defining tension of data collection is the struggle of taking a messy, organic world and defining it in formats that are neat, clean, and structured.”

Further, the research aims to contribute new knowledge through method development, including developing procedures and instruments for practitioner collectives enabling research and design processes attentive to situated knowledges.

The title, Itinerant Platforms, refers to the notion of creating attentive and situated practices; To be itinerant is to be wayfaring and nomadic, while in the meaning of an 'itinerant worker,' the term also assembles being situated in a place through ways of making. In turn, the study aims to contribute knowledge to new methods for digital collaborations, akin to the notion of an itinerant platform as a form of design instrument that addresses its entanglements with diverse disciplinary participants, forms of local knowledge, and heterogeneous ways of working as contributory to the outcomes, visualizations, and experiences it can provide.

The research project will add new knowledge in the following ways;

    • Indicating practice-based approaches to address post-colonial critique and provide actionable steps to engage with the making of situated and local knowledge.
    • Providing a critical view of studio-based practices in global contexts from the perspective of digital-first collaborations.
    • Showcase practice-based best practices for equal knowledge sharing across the Global South and North incorporating diverse forms of knowledge.
    • Offer a practice-based response to a growing demand for decolonizing architectural discourse and the adaptation of non-colonial narratives.
    • Explore connections between forms of visualizations and knowledge forms relating to urban planning.

The setup of the joint studio and workshops provide secondary outcomes such as;
    • Stimulate future collaborations between universities and potential exchange opportunities for students.
    • Engage a multifaceted network on three continents, including appointed city planners, artists, architecture students, and civil society.
    • Providing free education for students in the Global South.