A common ground for adaptive contributive design
Keywords:ALICE, urban design, data-based drawing, affective cartography, ecological transition
The laboratory ALICE (Atelier de la Conception de l’Espace) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) advances a comprehensive approach to data-based drawing oriented towards architectural and urban co-design processes. This drawing methodology has been key in the contributive design process they have applied over the last seven years, covering a range of scales and contexts, both within the public and private spheres.
Contribution has become a relational strategy that unites a diverse range of participants, each hailing from various backgrounds and carrying unique needs, which come together around the drawing. For this reason, the cultivation of a robust drawing culture, from their teaching to their research and design activities, has become a cornerstone of ALICE’s philosophy, where drawing is embraced not merely as a representational tool but as a constructive means for design work. Their methodology has now evolved to include data-based drawing techniques, skillfully merging precise surveying with qualitative data analysis, thereby bridging the gap between quantitative and qualitative facets of design.
This article explains this data-based approach to drawing through a series of projects developed in the Greater Geneva region. Throughout them, they explain how ALICE’s situated data-based drawings facilitate intricate coordination among students, leading to real-scale interventions; explore the potential of transforming main roads into landscape infrastructures that promote sustainable mobility and urban development; or offer an innovative lens to comprehend the affective connections between citizens and their urban surroundings, transcending traditional cartographic representations. Finally, these efforts are summarised through the analysis of a single drawing showcased at the 2021 Venice Biennale, illustrating the potential of this methodology to harmonize the collective efforts of various stakeholders.