Architecture + Philosophy research seminar, ResArc, Sweden: Dr Hélène Frichot, Critical Studies in Architecture, KTH Stockholm


A reflection on an essay that ‘shocked me to thought’

by shydes

The Killing Fields of Inequality, Therborn, G (2012)

Being an architect student in the 80s, at Lund’s University, changed my perspectives upon the world. I understood that, as an architect I was responsible for how people manage their everyday life. Bad architecture, with unclear structures where you can’t find your way, with unpleasant surfaces where you don’t feel welcome are made by architects as well as the good architecture. Good or bad architecture is not black and white as we are all different and have different needs at different times.

As a practicing architect I tried to get the hours in a project, by negotiate with client and manager, so I could work close to the people who were going to use the facilities. When the process went well, it was amazing to see the building standing there with the vision from our collaboration. A vision that had delimitations due to money, understanding between workers and manager etc, but still a vision that came true.

In the same time the society took a new direction. 70s became 80s and countries were supposed to be run as companies; UK with Thatcher, US with Reagan. The capitalistic system was taken for granted by every political party, from right to left. In the building sector it became more important to gain money than to build a society.

When I started to work within academia, 2005, as a senior lecturer I was told that I was too political. As an educator I worked with students in city areas with migrants and segregation. Discussed inequality in the world and how we segregate people. It was to political for some colleagues.

To read Göran Therborn made me feel less alone in academy. There was research that supported that we all live longer and better lives in a more equal world (It may have started with Spirit Level by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, but Göran Therborn made it even more clear to me). Today I have many colleagues and students that share the struggle against inequality. Between 2011 and 2015 we remade our educations in design at Linnaeus University.

We explore together with students how we can become change agents. Design can be part of building sustainable futures. Papanek said: “There are few professions more harmful than industrial design.” Design can make change! Göran Therborn has definitely helped me to explore what a designer and a design education can do.


by mashahupalo

1 Rhythmoterritory 

Elisabeth Grosz in her reading of Deleuze and Guattari (Chaos, Territory, Art, 2008) unpacks how a milieu or a combination of them after establishing relationships give birth to rhythm, and through this form a territory. In other words, there is no territory without a rhythm, no parking territory without a traffic rhythm.

2 Opti-Toxic Narrative

Techno-optimism of digital mobility platforms and traditional automobile manufacturers about autonomous shared fleets of vehicles streaming down the streets of our cities is one of the most pervasive global narratives that proposes an all-inclusive explanation of future mobility. Marco Armieto and Massimo De Angelis in “Anthropocene: Victims, Narrators, and Revolutionaries“(2017) argue that such grand narratives – in their example it is a tale of Anthropocene – make it increasingly difficult to develop knowledges oppositional to “global truths”.

3 Driver Care 

Bruno Latour indicates a necessity of caring for the technologies that we introduce into this world. It is not that he uncritically glorifies Sports Utility Vehicles or Aramis transport system that never came into being but rather suggests that prior to demonising “others” there is a responsibility of understanding their concerns (Latour, 1992). Caring for drivers in a climate of pervasive pedestrianisation of cities becomes almost controversial.

4 Movement Parasite

In line with thinking of Michel Serres in “The Parasite” (1980), any parking space is a parasite of the territory that it serves. He underlines the specificity of the parasite that can develop “only in certain organism and is carried only by a certain vector”. Infrastructures of stillness are not random or generic; they appear in very specific places of the city organism, they feed from it. They mark the start points of automobility vectors across the urban body, and slightly alter their directions.

5 The Thing in the Making

A responsible critic assembles and “offers the participants arenas in which to gather”. This is the path of engagement with the “matters of concern” that Bruno Latour suggests in his essay “Why Has Critique Run Out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern” (2004). He advocates for the realism of an object that turns into a Thing comprising a myriad of contradicting opinions, concerns and decisions.

6 Navigation Umwelt 

Each human subject that moves through the transportation grid constructs a specific environment-world consisting of “carriers of significance” or of “marks”. This personal navigation Umwelt has the same underlying logic as an environment of an animal.  One of the founders of the ecology, Jakob von Uexkull, distinguished this notion from the Umgebung, that he defined as “the objective space in which the human being is moving”, free from perceptual.

7 Conversing with the Text

The text reveals and conceals, like any other conversation partner. Understanding it requires interpreting. David Tracy in “Plurality and Ambiguity” (1987) lays down the rules of conversing, questioning and listening to the text to avoid being its passive recipients. The texts of urban planning legislation are repositories of professional values that can tell plenty about societal aspirations and dreams at a specific moment of time. But only if we read and converse with attention and respect.

8 Protomapping

Maps get a sense of meaning as a thick overlay of information that is brought into relation through a process of gathering and assembling. James Corner in “The Agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique and Invention” (2011) develops this line of thinking further by illuminating the power of mapping to construct prototypes of futures to consider and debate.

9 Site of Negotiation 

In “Why Site Matters”(2005) Andrea Kahn and Carol Burns understand the site as a composition of three areas: area of control, area of influence, and area of effect. They overlap physically and engage in different sets of relationships. By approaching the site as a table of negotiation between different forces – legislative, economic, or cultural – we acknowledge its power to shape the urban fabric.

SHARING Heteroglossia and Concept-Tools

by shydes


There is no concept with only one component. All concepts are connected to problems without which they would have no meaning and which themselves only be isolated or understood as their solution emerges.

Deleuze, G et Guattari, F. (1994) What is a Concept? What is Philosophy? New York: Colombia University Press: 15-34


Etymology: Old English tól neuter, = Old Norse tól n. plural (compare Norwegian tøler ) < Old Germanic *tôwlom , tôlom , <*tôw- to prepare, make (cognate with Gothic taujan : see taw v.1) + agentive suffix -lom , -el suffix1.

Anything used in the manner of a tool; a thing (concrete or abstract) with which some operation is performed; a means of effecting something; an instrument.

“tool, n.”. OED Online. March 2018. Oxford University Press. (accessed April 19, 2018).


Zone of Neighbourhood, Humans being together



More than maintenance […] caring as a loving connection […] fostering […] caring relations […] concern of feminist thinking

Puig de la Bellacasa, M. (2011). Matters of care in technoscience: Assembling neglected things. Social Studies of Science  Vol 41(1): 85-106.

Care by Volvo: A new alternative to owning or leasing a Volvo car. Welcome to the future of the car experience, where a simple monthly subscription is all you need. This is Care by Volvo – a symbol of our commitment to give you back more time to do the things you love.

Care by me: A mutual agreed action to relief everyday life.


[…] communication which included solving conflict as well as building partnership. Lefebvre understands conflicts in Marxism terms, as a quality and not as a problem.

Schalk, M et al. (2009). Taking care of Public space. Architectural Research Quarterly Vol 13 no 2: 141-149.

There is a chance that a conflict can become a forum for change, when norms are not only repetitiously and performatively re-enacted and re-experienced, but also overwritten and changed.

Schalk, M et al. (2009). Taking care of Public space. Architectural Research Quarterly Vol 13 no 2: 141-149. (Inexcitable Speech. Zum Rechtsverständnis postmoderner feministischer Positionen am Beispiel Judith Butler, inHornscheidt, Antje / Jähnert, Gabriele/ Schlichter, Annette (Hg.), Kritische Differenzen – geteilte Perspektiven, Opladen: Westdeutsche Verlag 1998, 229-252)

Assignm 2c SHC


Ranking, violates a moral norm of equality […] inequality is avoidable […] morally unjustified […] hierarchical differences

Therborn, G. (2012). Killing Fields of Inequality. International Journal of Health Services, Vol 42, No 4: 579–589


That every person is considered as much as everyone else in a political and often an economical aspect […] Used since 1713, more common since1960s.

(my translation) Nationalencyklopedin, jämlikhet. (accessed 2018-04-12)


Moore P. (2016), industrial designer, gerontologist, author,  Keynote Cumulus Conference, Hong Kong


Class is a term that in the social sciences is used to separate people into groups based on economic and social criteria. The concept was established in the 1800s as a basis for both classical liberalism and early socialism. The concept of class has been the most relevant in Marxist theory, where social classes have different roles in or in relation to the production of goods and services. What is in focus is the power over ownership, and in Marxist thought the concept is also a cornerstone of a theory concerning social mobilisation, so-called class struggle, aimed to change the economic power structure in society. (accessed 2018-04-12)


Etymology: < late Latin sēgregātiōn-em, noun of action < Latin sēgregāre : see segregate v.

  1. The action of segregating.
  2. The separation or isolation of a portion of a community or a body of persons from the rest.

“segregation, n.”. OED Online. March 2018. Oxford University Press. (accessed 2018-04-19)

Late Latin segrega’tio ‘separation’, ‘separation’, of Latin ‘grego’ separating (from the flock) ‘), the spatial separation of populations.

Nationalencyklopedin, segregation.ång/segregation(accessed 2018-04-12)

A high priority issue for the government is to break segregation. The work is done on several fronts and ten ministers work together to reverse the development and contribute to reduced gaps and to create a safe Sweden where we keep together (accessed 2018-04-19)

Human Needs

[…] fundamental human needs are not only universal but are also entwined with the evolution of the species. They follow a single track. […] Fundamental human needs must be understood as a system, the dynamics of which do not obey hierarchical linearities. This means that on the one hand, no need is more important per se than any other; and that on the other hand, there is no fixed order of precedence in the actualization of needs. (accessed 2018-04-12)

Zone of Neighbourhood, Ontology



Is the quiet knowledge really quiet? A vocational practice as a mediator of quiet knowledge, ie such knowledge conveyed through training and socialization into a profession´s tradition. The most important moments in a professional practice are thus quiet, ie contextual, cultural bound, implied and bound to be expressed in skills and talents. One acquires the quiet knowledge by learning to live in a given practice.

[my translation]      Molander, B. (1993). Kunskap i handling [Knowledge in practice]  (accessed 2018-04-19)

[…] The knowing itself is partial in all its guises, never finished, whole, simply there and original; it is always constructed and stitched together imperfectly and therefor able to join with another to see together without claiming to be another.

Haraway, D (1988). Situated Knowledge: The Science question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist studies Vol 14 No 3: 575-599

Illustration of Knowledge

based on the text;  Gustavsson, B. (2000). Philosophy of knowledge: Three Forms of Knowledge in a Historical Perspective

Presentation Approches

Zone of Neighbourhood, Methods


Participatory design

Participatory design (PD) is an approach where all stakeholders are involved in the design process. Traditional design projects typically include the paying client and professionals within similar and related industries; in participatory design, members of the wider community — from the users who are directly affected by the design, to the local business owners who may be peripheral to it — are also recognised as legitimate stakeholders with the ability to impact the project. The extent of their involvement can range from being passively informed of a project’s development, to actively sharing roles and responsibilities in decision making. While there may be times when informing is a necessary part of the process, we believe that real impact is often made when we intentionally build up a person’s capacity to contribute at higher levels. (accessed April 19, 2018).

Action research

A succinct definition of action research appears in the workshop materials we use at the Institute for the Study of Inquiry in Education. That definition states that action research is a disciplined process of inquiry conducted by and for those taking the action. The primary reason for engaging in action research is to assist the “actor” in improving and/or refining his or her actions.

Guiding School Improvement with Action Research, by Richard Sagor

  1. Selecting a focus
  2. Clarifying theories
  3. Identifying research questions
  4. Collecting data
  5. Analyzing data
  6. Reporting results
  7. Taking informed action (accessed 2018-04-19)

Meta design

We define metadesign as an emerging framework of practice that will enable designers to change, or create, behavioral paradigms (accessed 2018-04-19)

Tham, Mathilda, professor at Department of design, Linnaeus University, Illustration from presentation at JST, Tokyo. 6th of April 2018.

Measuring and Paying Intangible Values

by mashahupalo



by mashahupalo

Posthuman Design Industries

by vasilysitnikov

tech scheme.jpg

It can be said, that technologies are means of transferring things from the realm of nature to the realm of culture. In turn, technologies constitute industries which extract, process, and machine nature in order to present it as a commodity on the market. These sets of actions, which transform natural things into things with bar codes, are commanded by the higher-level intellectual decisions, usually referred to as the design.

Since the rise of environmental consciousness, proclaimed through the notion of the Anthropocene, a debate around the environment-conscious design was being imposed on the public through the effort of environment scientists such as Michael Braungart. The main thesis of his critique is that the industries inherited from the anthropocentric era do not comply with the basic ideas of the environmental sustainability. When expanded to a global scale, they create a dramatic hazard to the biosphere of our planet.

Obviously, interruption of the industrial and economic development is not a solution to the crisis we are facing. As Braungart suggest, the transition to a sustainable living can be facilitated through a revision of the design approach not merely limited to the performance of a product on the market, but including numerous other criteria deriving from the awareness with numerous environmental and social conditions.

Such a design problem can be represented in a form of a differential equation with hundreds of variables. Thanks to computer aided design tools, a solution to these inhumanly complex mathematical problems can be calculated almost effortlessly. However, the problem one would face when following this method is that such a sustainable product won’t necessarily respond to our habitual modernist expectations of form and function; rather, it’ll be a sudden, unforeseen object, a sustainable artifact. To become a commodity on the market, this noumenon would need to be given sensible and practical qualities. This work of post-rationalization and retrofitting may be seen as a true design challenge of the posthuman design industries.


by mashahupalo

Method of speculation is a thought experiment that opens to view the complicated variables of the future urban fields, permits to imagine opportunities and come to terms with previously not experienced reality.

The true method of speculation is like the flight of an airplane. It starts from the ground of particular observation; it makes a flight in the thin air of imaginative generalization; and it again lands for renewed observation rendered acute by rational interpretation. (Whitehead, 1929, p. 5)

Sharing Economy

by shydes

Meelen and Frenken (2015) define the sharing economy as the interactions of people temporarily letting other people use their under-utilised resources, with or without monetary exchange. Services such as Uber or TaskRabbit thus do not qualify as part of the sharing economy according to Meelen and Frenken (2015) but should rather be considered part of the ‘on-demand economy’ or the ‘gig economy’.

– Bradley, K. & Pargman, D. (2017) “The sharing economy as the commons of the 21st century” in Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society



a glossary of people

by massimois

Alejandro Aravena

“we have never taught the right thing in architecture”


Beatriz Colomina and Mark Wigley

-Are We Human? Notes on an Archaeology of Design (2016).

“the world has developed an ability to watch everything yet do nothing.

This lack of action is also being designed. Neglect has been shaped”

(Colomina and Wigley: 2016,  84)


Elizabeth Dori Tunstall

Design Anthropology is a discipline focused on how design translates values into tangible experiences, such that it respects other ways of being in the world.

it is a methodology of respectful design. To develop design approaches based on cultural respect, not just social responsibility.


Patrik Schumacher

the Pritzker Prize has been “mutated” into a humanitarian design award, by doing so architecture loses its specific societal task and responsibility; architectural innovation is replaced by the demonstration of noble intentions and the discipline’s criteria of success and excellence dissolve in the vague do-good-feel-good pursuit of ‘social justice”.


Steven Hiller and Veronique Vienne

-Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility (2003), edited by Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne which focuses on the consequences of our actions.

“a designer must be professionally, culturally, and socially responsible for the impact his or her design has on citizenry”.


the concrete frame – a model of economy

by helenawesterlind

diagram copy

If the success of an architectural typology can be defined merely by its reproducibility the concrete structural frame must be regarded as the most successful example of architecture as an industrial process. It is a global phenomena that appears in endless variation based on a few generalised design principles and has become “the most recognisable –the most fundamental –project of twentieth-century”.

Adrian Forty has pointed out that the introduction of concrete as a building material, not only, changed the economics of construction, but that it also has affected the entire composition of the building industry by shifting the balance from skilled craft labour to unskilled labour. As an alternative to traditional construction that was dependent on expensive skilled craft labour, concrete offered the possibility of cheaper construction by sidestepping the traditional trades, and breaking their monopoly over construction. “There are good grounds for saying that the phenomenal success of concrete in advanced economies where wages are high has had as much to do with this aspect of concrete as with any constructional advantages”.

It is against this background of ‘economy of labour’ that the phenomenal success of the concrete frame typology can begin to be understood–as yet another consequence of the capitalist demand for more cost-efficient construction. The execution of reinforced concrete as a structural frame enabled the pursuit of a ‘structural economy’ that promised even greater radical reductions in material, time and labour.

The conceptual basis for the model was provided by Le Corbusier, when he in 1915 tried to patent, but failed, his Domino design for a simple post and slap reinforced concrete structure. The scheme represented a new method of construction that promised a rapid an economical way of producing mass housing as a solution to the post-war rebuilding problem after WW1. The Domino scheme was a continuation and radicalisation of existing standardized reinforced concrete systems such as the Hennebique system. Even though Le Corbusier’s project was never realised in its pure form, and is widely acknowledged to not be fully resolved technically, the project became extremely influential as a concept of an economical model for housing that anticipated the industrialisation of construction.

to be cont…