Critical Spatial Practice: Design for Alternative Futures

Undergrad course, Williams College (spring 2023), Instructor

In this course, students will transform an architectural or urban space through temporary interventions that participate in reorienting public perception, imagination, and politics. We will explore selected ideas that have informed design thinking and activism for environmental justice. Students will build on spatial strategies such as spatial hijacking, acupuncture architecture, counter-appropriation, and détournement and visual techniques that unsettle normative understandings of space, time, and architecture. These techniques include montage, counter-cartographies, controversy mapping, graphic novels, storytelling, role-playing, and visual appropriation. The course will offer methods and approaches as a toolkit for critical spatial practice.

Assignments include weekly discussions and design projects and surveys requiring drawings and model design. Final project: design project to reorient public perception, imagination, and politics. Evaluation will be based on the quality of design at both theoretical/conceptual and technical levels.