DE/CENTER FOR RESEARCH destabilizes the traditional role of the institution as research center by spatializing research at the margins.

Emma Kaufmann LaDuc
Team members
Emma Kaufmann LaDuc
Field of work
Architecture, Landscape architecture, Ecology, Research
Project category
Rural spaces
Project submitted

Emma Kaufmann LaDuc is an interdisciplinary architect working within urban and rural territories. Her research seeks to both pluralize and localize spatial practice, thinking through resilient systems and acting through collaborative interventions. Emma is research assistant at the ETH Zurich under the Chairs of Teresa Galí-Izard and An Fonteyne and head of an experimental unit at the AA Summer School in London, as well as member of the interdisciplinary collective La Rivoluzione delle Seppie.

While our institutions may still be fixated on the idea of centralized knowledge production towards globalized application, the conditions of that very globe have changed. Research built on the assumption of planetary stability—of resource abundance and of limitless growth—renders our institutions increasingly unstable. Here, we seek to leverage this instability, to renegotiate the historic concentration of wealth and resources within our institutions, and their hegemonic claim on intellectual capital.

DE/CENTER FOR RESEARCH is a pedagogical approach towards destabilizing the traditional model of the “research center” through a new territorialization. We look to existing practices, such as field stations and residencies, to pluralize sites of research. We learn to develop our own experimental research at the margins, designing their relational systems.

In decentralizing wealth and resources, we are confronted with the underbelly of the institution: the centralized databases, the densified housing, the transportation and food systems (the very sustenance which sustains academia). At the margins, the undercommons surface to propose an alternative to these systems through sourcing from community-based infrastructures.

The act of destabilization is thus twofold: singularly, practices which emerge from the territory will build localized commons, becoming collectively resilient. We co-create a methodology to spatialize these emergent practices together with their communities and territories. With a commons that expands horizontally and extends to our research at the margins, we reclaim the intellectual capital from the institution in its instability.