The Drawing Table: critical drawing workshops

The Drawing Table: critical drawing workshops
model photo, by Madison Lindsay
I plan to develop critical, reflective workshops to encourage architects, designers, and planners to work in more caring, situated ways.

Madison Lindsay
Copenhagen, Denmark
Team members
Madison Lindsay
Field of work
Architecture, Communication, Research
Project category
Raising awareness
Project submitted

Madison Lindsay is an architect recently graduated from the MA in Political Architecture: Critical Sustainability, at the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, Denmark. She aims to use collaboration, care, and situatedness throughout her work. She seeks to find feasible ways of working and living that are more equitable and responsive to the intractable crises of our time and place. Her practices include: writing, lecturing, hosting drawing workshops, activism, and building with rammed earth.

Previously, she has worked in several architectural offices in the United States, on projects including schools, performance centers, and hospitals. She graduated with high honors from UC Berkeley with a BA in Architecture, focusing on Social and Cultural Factors in Environmental Design. She has been a guest lecturer at DIS in Copenhagen, and a guest critic at UC Berkeley.

Her recent research and design practices are situated in Copenhagen, Belfast, and eastern Poland, and span issues of sustainable urban development, cross-cultural migration, situated fieldwork methods, and the ethics of architectural practice in entangled political contexts. She is inspired by her collaborators within and outside of architecture, specifically those who are fighting for equity, justice, and sustainability.

I plan to develop critical, reflective workshops to shift conventional architectural drawing practices to be more caring, situated, and non-violent. This project was initiated in response to the Parallel Societies Law (PSL) in Denmark and architects’ complicit role in enacting violence upon residents. The PSL, or so-called “Ghetto List” requires evictions and displacement of residents from their homes based primarily on their ethnic background. Social housing is demolished, replaced with new private housing. While the law is widely seen as discriminatory, the role of architects in this situation has largely been ignored.

I propose to develop pedagogical approaches for architects to reflect upon and shift their ways of practicing. I will call attention to the power and agency embedded in architects’ drawing practices. I refer to the work of Dana Cuff, Victoria Mitchell, Donna Haraway, and Tim Ingold—between their views on the capabilities and relations of lines.

During my field research at site visits to architects’ homes and offices, many architects expressed disapproval of this law, and of their own complicity in its violence. They wished to practice architecture in more ethical ways, but were not sure how. In workshops for architecture students, I developed lectures and exercises for participants to reflect upon the relationships between the lines we draw and their impacts on the resulting built environments, residents, and communities. The intent of this submission now is to further develop the workshops and pedagogical tools to share with practicing architects, to encourage professionals across contexts to shift their ways of working. It empowers architects to navigate the real constraints we have in drawing in more caring ways, to navigate their economic, technological, and contractual parameters. I intend to explore pedagogical approaches that can be implemented in diverse contexts, encouraging practitioners to find agency in enacting change.