Architecture Research Day
Time: Friday 3 September 2021 at 11:30 - 17:00
Welcome to an afternoon about research at the School of Architecture!
The 'Research Day' offers a rich overview of ongoing research at the School of Architecture. Introductions by Dean Katja Grillner and Head of the Doctoral Program Meike Schalk are followed by three sessions with presentations of individual projects by doctoral students and senior researchers.
Presentations start at 11:30 and end approx. at 16:00 with interruptions for lunch and breaks. Before we close the day, we look forward to engaging with the audience in an open Q&A session.
Below is a list of participating presenters and their topics in alphabetical order:
Eva Arnqvist is an artist with a research-based practice centered on issues related to the production and mediation of everyday life and the transformation of place. Her practice spans across various aesthetic strategies and media, from installations, publications to public programming, often realized in collaboration with others, within and across disciplines.
Eva Arnqvist abstract [Presented with Catharina Gabrielsson] "Positioner i den offentliga konstens politiska ekonomi". Understanding “public art” as a wide and sprawling field of artistic engagement – spanning from commissioned works to self-generated projects – this project adopts public art as a lens for investigating “actually existing democracy” in starkly different settings. Based on case studies, the project initiates a cartography of the background conditions of public art, seen as indicative for attaining the broader aims of sustainable planning and design (Gestaltad livsmiljö). Using the camera as a research tool, we follow actors, processes and organizations in order to detect the driving forces, conflicts and desires shaping contemporary public art. In this presentation, we will show fragments from our current study of the artist-led collaborative project “Skogen mellan oss” (The forest between us) involving a network of places and local actors in Hälsningland and Gästrikland under the auspices of Konsfrämjandet. The project is financed by Formas, ”Gestaltad livsmiljö” call, 2021-2024.
Stavroula Angelaki is a PhD student in the Division of Lighting Design at KTH. She has a background in Interior Architecture, Decoration, and Design and holds a master´s degree in Lighting Design.
Stavroula Angelaki abstract My research topic focuses on the investigation of the current lighting design and layout in learning environments. This investigation aims in highlighting the areas and factors that need to be redesigned and therefore changed. In this research, a school complex will be the testbed where the lighting proposals will be tested and evaluated before their installation in the classrooms. The key factors defining this project are the sustainability of the proposed design, the respect of the different needs during the day, and most importantly, the support of creativity on behalf of the students.
Bojan Boric is lecturer in Urban Design and head of year 3 of the Architecture education at KTH. His doctoral dissertation ‘The Ghost Boulevard’ critically examines planning instruments in the context of radical institutional political and economic shift towards a market economy in Moldova, in the early 1990s, as a point of entry for a current discussion of planning instruments and procedures globally.
Bojan Boric abstract [Presented with Teres Selberg] "In Situ - Architecture in Context: Promoting a Partnership between KTH, Sweden and Lusófona University, Guinea Bissau".The STINT Africa Initiation Grant for Internationalization 2021-2022, allows us to establish a partnership between The School of Architecture, the Department of Urban and Regional Studies at KTH with Lusófona University and UN Habitat in Bissau, Guinea Bissau. Through studio teaching, common workshops and seminars, we anticipate to initiate and develop cross-cultural collaboration and mutual learning. Our common objectives are: 1) to promote exchange of knowledge and practice-related experience in architecture, and sustainable urban planning and design, 2) to build a long-term collaboration for learning through common educational activities, as well as the initiation of research projects, and 3) to bring together the universities with both local NGOs and international organizations such as UN Habitat, to situate education in architecture and sustainable urban development closer to the informal reality large parts of the world are facing.
Elizabeth Calderón Lüning is an associate researcher at the Weizenbaum Institute (the German Internet Institute) in Berlin and a guest researcher at the KTH Architecture School. Her research focuses on the democratic deliberation of digital politics in urban contexts and the notion of digital sovereignty as individual and collective freedom and right to actively participate in shaping digital life worlds. As co-founder of the "Digital City Alliance - Berlin", she advocates for a fairer and more equitable city for urban dwellers in the digital age.
Abstract Elizabeth Calderón Lüning In July 2020, Germany assumed the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and set the goal of "establishing digital sovereignty as the guiding principle of European digital policy" (The German EU Presidency, 2020). The prominence of the concept of digital sovereignty raises the question of what lies behind this term. Although not yet thoroughly researched academically, some initial assessments indicate that the term is predominantly normative and descriptive, seeking greater independence and self-determination in the digital world (Couture and Toupin, 2019; Pohle, 2020; Pohle and Thiel, 2020). One salient figure to advocate for the undertaking of strengthening digital sovereignty has been cities – its residents as well as their governments. Especially European cities and its citizens are increasingly seen as active drivers of rights-based digital policy (Calzada, 2019). Cities have long been the projection field, engine, and melting pot for societal transformation. With a historically active civil society, the German capital of Berlin is historically known for its urban struggles for tennant rights, public space and what can be subsumed under the banner of “Right-to-the-City” movements. But what can we learn from these activities when it comes to finding an urban voice in the digital age? My research focuses on how the configuration of the digital policy field affects democratic deliberation practices and how civic engagement and protest in these processes help open up discourse on digital rights within cities.
Chero Eliassi is a doctoral student in Theory and History of Architecture at the Royal Institute of Technology. Her work focuses on investigating the transformations that have shaped the outdoor environments of the Million Program in Sweden. She has a passion for performing ethnographic studies in welfare landscapes.
Chero Eliassi abstract "Transformative landscapes of the Million Program's outdoor environments: Case studies of the social, ecological and cultural values of neighborhoods in Sweden". The research project is a historically comparative study of the transformation, and use of the outdoor environments of the Million Program’s built during the Swedish Record Years. Ethnographic and spatial research methods will be applied in the case studies of chosen neighborhoods in Sweden to investigate social, ecological, and cultural narratives. The research question which will lead the thesis is: How have local residents of the Million Program’s transformed, personalized, and engaged in their surrounding landscapes since the end of the Swedish Record Years? With the title ‘’A Culture of Place’ in Swedish Allotments: Gardens as Therapy and Threat in Rosengård and Berga’, Eliassi captures and investigates how cultivation in and adjacent to Million Program areas have created social and therapeutic values, as well as a sense of collective belonging. Eliassi is also currently studying how spatial cultural practices take place in the Million Program's outdoor environments. The research, entitled 'The spatial practice of Newroz: a comparative analysis of the practice amongst the Kurdish diaspora in Järva Field and in Diyarbakir' is a research topic that focuses on the manifestation and values of the spatial practice of Newroz in the Järva field in Stockholm, in comparison with the practice in Kurdish-populated cities in the Middle East.
Chen Feng is a postdoctoral fellow in Applied Urban Design at KTH School of Architecture. He received his PhD from the Georgia Institute of Technology where he studied Space Syntax and urban design. He is currently studying spatial segregation and unequal living conditions in Swedish cities with Prof. Ann Legeby.
Chen Feng abstract Chen is interested in measuring urban forms and studying how they interact with various urban activity patterns. During his doctoral studies at Georgia Tech, he designed and implemented computer algorithms to generate, analyze, and sort thousands of street network patterns at the scale of a superblock. By doing so, he found that street networks can be differentiated along distinct pathways that entail different costs in terms of undesirable properties. Chen is also interested in new urban technologies. While he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, Chen leveraged big, open data to estimate the shared e-scooter usage patterns at Austin, Texas. He also applied machine learning algorithms to predict neighborhood-scale health outcomes in several American cities. Since he started his postdoc at KTH this January, he has worked with Prof. Ann Legeby on a project which studies spatial segregation and unequal living conditions in Uppsala.
Catharina Gabrielsson is docent in architecture and associate professor in urban theory. Her research centers on the relationship between architecture and the city, critically questioning and contextualizing modes of spatial production by juxtaposing aesthetics, politics, and economics. Methods include fieldwork operations, archival studies, and discourse analysis fused together through an engagement with text and creative writing.
Catharina Gabrielsson abstract [Presented with Eva Arnqvist] "Positioner i den offentliga konstens politiska ekonomi". Understanding “public art” as a wide and sprawling field of artistic engagement – spanning from commissioned works to self-generated projects – this project adopts public art as a lens for investigating “actually existing democracy” in starkly different settings. Based on case studies, the project initiates a cartography of the background conditions of public art, seen as indicative for attaining the broader aims of sustainable planning and design (Gestaltad livsmiljö). Using the camera as a research tool, we follow actors, processes and organizations in order to detect the driving forces, conflicts and desires shaping contemporary public art. In this presentation, we will show fragments from our current study of the artist-led collaborative project “Skogen mellan oss” (The forest between us) involving a network of places and local actors in Hälsningland and Gästrikland under the auspices of Konsfrämjandet. The project is financed by Formas, ”Gestaltad livsmiljö” call, 2021-2024.
Matilde Kautsky is an architect and PhD Candidate in Applied Urban Design. She has a special interest in just cities, equal living conditions and social sustainability. The overall theme of her research is public spaces for children. Before committing to PhD research she worked four years at an architectural firm.
Matilde Kautsky Abstract On the research day I will present ongoing research about schoolyards in Stockholm municipality. The reason for my interest in schoolyards is that lately schoolyards and specifically their size has become a highly debated topic in Sweden, with reports on the size of school premises shrinking from year to year, or schools even being built without outdoor yards. The reasons for smaller school premises may be ad hoc solutions to a growing population and/or densification of the urban. The study includes 143 compulsory schools in the municipality of Stockholm, primary with examples from the urban expansion in early 1900 and forward. The size of the schoolyard and the size of the yard in relation to the size of the school building are analysed. In addition, it is highlighted when the school was built. This study results in a glimpse of the schoolyards in Stockholm today and together with the curriculum and planning regulations may shed some light on the debate about shrinking school premises.
Jennifer Mack (Associate Professor and Docent) links theories and methods from architectural history and anthropology to investigate the built environment in relation to questions of equality, power, ecology, and social change. Her current research focuses on the green, open, and public spaces of Swedish late modernist suburbs, and she is author of The Construction of Equality: Syriac Immigration and the Swedish City and co-editor of two recent anthologies.
Jennifer Mack abstract My project, “Parks around the Towers,” (Formas), reverses the famous functionalist formulation “towers in the park” to study the construction, use, and transformation of outdoor spaces created during the Swedish Million Program (1965-1974). In two recent papers from the project, I theorized the “green affect” of residents’ experiences of landscapes as a counterpoint to the dismal public discourses that have led to neighborhood stigmatization. Currently, I am developing papers on how official perceptions of decay over time have promoted specific forms of urban intervention. In one, I look at the history of two neighborhoods that were built simultaneously and adjacent to one another in the 1970s – but with different owners - in relation to targeted renovations of public spaces since that time. In another, I will examine how rats have come to symbolize human loss of control over the Swedish “environment.” I will also briefly mention a new project beginning in 2022, which I will carry out as a Pro Futura Fellow at SCAS.
Frida Rosenberg is a lecturer in Architecture teaching both design and history/theory courses. She has a PhD in Architecture history with a focus on architectural technology, which analyzed the introduction of steel construction in post-war Sweden in relation to the collaborative aspect of making architecture.
Frida Rosenberg abstract My research relies on historical investigations towards understanding architectural practice. Through a variety of research projects and through our Housing Studio a critical history of domestic architecture serves as a foundation for questions about current housing developments. A particular interest is combining an understanding of construction with understanding the social conditions of architectural design from apartment floorplans to housing in general: what effect does architecture design and architecture technology have on our social environment? Another venue of investigation is on the transfer of ideas in urban planning and housing in particular between Sweden and the United States in the 20th century. A forthcoming essay on this topic is "The Role of Design in the 1960s Swedish-American Landscape" in Swedish-American Borderlands: New Histories of Transatlantic Relations (August 2021) and an essay on Sven Markelius Villa Kevinge in Tio byggnader som definierade 1940-talet (forthcoming 2021)
Teres Selberg is lecturer in Architecture teaching a master studio at KTH School of Architecture since 2010 and a co-founder of ASF Sweden. She has a long experience in participatory methodologies within architecture and urban planning and a broad network in Guinea Bissau.
Teres Selberg abstract [Presented with Bojan Boric] "In Situ - Architecture in Context: Promoting a Partnership between KTH, Sweden and Lusófona University, Guinea Bissau".The STINT Africa Initiation Grant for Internationalization 2021-2022, allows us to establish a partnership between The School of Architecture, the Department of Urban and Regional Studies at KTH with Lusófona University and UN Habitat in Bissau, Guinea Bissau. Through studio teaching, common workshops and seminars, we anticipate to initiate and develop cross-cultural collaboration and mutual learning. Our common objectives are: 1) to promote exchange of knowledge and practice-related experience in architecture, and sustainable urban planning and design, 2) to build a long-term collaboration for learning through common educational activities, as well as the initiation of research projects, and 3) to bring together the universities with both local NGOs and international organizations such as UN Habitat, to situate education in architecture and sustainable urban development closer to the informal reality large parts of the world are facing.
Elin Strand Ruin, architect/artist, PhD student at Sheffield University, UK. Strand Ruin is an artist and architect working within the field of participatory city-development. Her work operates at the interface between performative architecture, with a feminist approach, exploring how to catalyse social change. Strand Ruin has exhibited at leading artistic, architectural and planning venues around Sweden and Europe during the last 20 years with projects such as: ‘Knitting House’, 2010, ‘The Kitchen of Praxagora’, 2016, ‘The Kitchen Square’, 2019 and ‘The Kitchen of Praxagora 2’, 2021. She runs the practice: S E S Studio Elin Strand Ruin and teaches in Urban planning at the School of Architecture, KTH. Strand Ruin is in collaboration with Ann Legeby as part of the research project MAPURBAN (2021-22) between KTH, UCL, Kent University, Free University Berlin.
Elin Strand Ruin abstract How can caring everyday activities be implemented in public space in order to increase female co-presence and hence strengthen public resilience? The aim of the research project PRAXAGORA - care at the heart of urban imagination is to highlight local resources by focusing on women and acknowledging their well-functioning female social networks of care to empower the local neighbourhood. Such networks correspond to social and cultural capital among women in deprived areas and are essential assets in participatory processes that enable women to engage more actively in the public space. The goal is to increase the legitimacy of an urban renewal project by promoting gender equality. The goal is to make citizens become hosts and initiators of inclusive participation. By mapping “caring functions of everyday practices’’ the project forms a base for a creative feminist approach to critically explore and advance the possibilities of artistic practices. The aim is to produce subversive spatial interventions. The result is the outcome of the preliminary research made together with a local group of teachers and mothers from local pre-schools, networks etc in Hallonbergen, Hökarängen, Bredäng and Tensta. The vast caring “invisible” social network built up over decades of child care is the key instrument to generate and physically manifest alternative new public spaces.
Meike Schalk is an architect, associate professor in urban design and urban theory and docent in architecture at KTH School of Architecture, where she coordinates the doctoral education. While her first discipline is Architecture, she holds a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Aesthetics of Landscape Architecture from SLU (2007). Her research explores architecture and urban design in conjunction with feminist theory and practices. She is a co-founder of the nonprofit association Action Archive, from 2013, dedicated to urban research through approaches of oral history and participatory historiography. Her recent publications include Feminist Futures of Spatial Practice: Materialisms, Activisms, Dialogues, Pedagogies, Projections, co-edited with Thérèse Kristiansson and Ramia Mazé, 2017.
Meike Schalk abstract "A full loop of performance: from the perspectives of young citizens, through informal and formal spatial learning, to the reviewing of legal frameworks in multi-actor constellations, and back again". The project examines access to public space from the perspective of young citizens. In contrast to a currently dominant safety discourse, it seeks to foreground children and youths' agency in exploring and creating public spaces on their own terms. The project activates a mobile laboratory and applies sloyd and craft practices and environmental learning as tools for inclusive public spaces for children in close collaboration with institutions and non-profit organizations. The project is conducted in collaboration with media researcher Anette Göthlund and artist Miro Sazdic Löwstedt, Department of Visual Arts and Sloyd Education, Konstfack - University of Arts, Crafts and Design, and funded by Formas, Designed Living Environment Call 2021-2024.
Pehr Mikael Sällström (born 1966) is an architect working in advocacy of architectural policy at Architects Sweden since 1996 and part-time doctoral student at KTH since 2019. Sällström holds a master's in architecture from Lund university from 1996 and received a degree of licentiate in technology at KTH in 2002 on the subject of architectural acoustic design.
Pehr Mikael Sällström abstract "Inter-disciplinary intra-action in architectural modeling of sustainable urban design". The specific requirements on urban design are expanding as an effect of the agenda for sustainable development. This results in a demand for better methods to integrate epistemologically heterogeneous claims. It has been assumed that inter-disciplinary collaborative knowledge production requires a De-construction of the different claims to enable integrative solutions (Guy 2012, Corner 2007) and that the architectural model can be conceived as an enactment of a possibility that facilitates creative interactions (Goodman 2013). Recent research at KTH has proposed that architectural modeling as a method contributes with a project-specific framing and the strategy of iteration between the experts (Erixon-Aalto 2017). My research is concerned with the agency of the architectural model to coordinate the modeling situation as a regulative performative speech act in the project-specific discourse and the capacity of the model to facilitate a transgression of contradictory claims with a Re-construction. The research is framed in the philosophy of agential realism (Barad 2007) and situated in two case studies of innovation. This method focuses on the significance of the intra-action between the material representation of the model, the discourse on the project, and the contingency on material modes of representation for the intermediation of knowledge.
Anna Livia Vørsel is an architectural historian, researcher, and PhD candidate in Architectural Theory, History and Critical Studies at the School of Architecture, KTH. Working in-between and across scientific, historical, artistic and critical inquiries, her work addresses economic, legal and bureaucratic infrastructures in discussions around identity, belonging and knowledge production in architecture.
Anna Livia Vørsel abstract The PhD project, titled Becoming Evident: material forms of knowing, looks at the material, economic, bureaucratic and social history of buildings through ‘events’ and material ‘stutters’: renovations, restorations, conversions, and shifts in materiality, ownership or value. Through a material engagement with sites of Swedish post-war housing, it addresses the problem of financialization and aims to examine the different actors, agencies, and motivations embedded in these shifts and ‘stutters’. By engaging with materials and the knowledge they carry through the notion of the ‘event’ and the operative concept of the ‘Material Witness’ the research questions how different forms of knowledge materialise in artifacts, what knowledge have, and is given validity, and who or what can carry it. The PhD research is part of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action project ‘TACK / Communities of Tacit Knowledge: Architecture and its Ways of Knowing’.