The Archipelago Studio is a 1-year Masters of Architecture Research + Design Thesis Studio at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto, run by Petros Babasikas in 2020-24.

Archipelago is a research + design method for producing architecture in conditions of Crisis. It includes work across 5 continents on sites without a single center. It therefore un-centers the way we think of ‘solutions’ by narratives, works, positions from the periphery. Archipelago is about design, activism, resiliency. It builds flexible partnerships with/as agents of change; new public space, shelter, sanctuary. Archipelago supports acts of Resistance.

This page features Research and Thesis works from January 2020 to February 2023:  7+10+11 explorations of the Archipelago as a projective model for Architecture and Urbanism against Crisis.

These explorations often live in the limits of a contemporary City/Sea.

I thought of people struggling within this speck of the world against silence and obliteration


Atlas:  guide:  shelter: commons:  sanctuary. Unlike Ungers’, Koolhaas’ or Shinkel’s, this Archipelago is both figure and ground.  A mesh of vectors, actors, field, objects.

There may be circumstances - ways of measuring that island - that cause its circumference to be infinite



The ARCHIPELAGO is not metaphorical.  It does not contain iconic nodes and tabula rasa.  It includes a deep field condition charged with information, as well as distinct objects/islands, collectively forming a City/Sea.

The CITY/SEA is not an ideal space, but a real condition, a subaqueous and urban fabric which we have inherited and where we find ourselves working:  activists, adaptive reuse, aquaculture, backyards, beehives, builders, cloisters, continental shelves, contours, corner stores, cycles, desert islets, domestic urbanism, earthworks, entropic gardens, farmers, flotsam, forests, free zones, garbage patches, grand tour, housing, hybrid creatures, hydrographics, hyper-objects, indigenous stories, internet cables, invasive species, landfill,  landmarks, laneways, mammals, markets, metissage, migrations, microplastics, mnemotechnics, mud flats, navigators, nomads, nuns, piers, photovoltaics, plants, polycarbonates, poachers, port machines, pools, pressure points, rafts, rangers, red sand, reefs, refineries, relationality, ruins of modernism, sandbanks, senior citizens, sheds, sheet metal, shellfish, slums, solidarity, sovereignties, stations, suburban families, temporary structures, terraces, trenches, unaccompanied minors, the unsmiling rock, urban voids, vessels, walkscapes, and wind turbines.

Stations, vessels and cycles of civitas and cultural identity mark and navigate the fabric.  These are works of incremental urbanism, temporary or incomplete; they are inductive, because  the CITY/SEA cannot be controlled.

I wondered whether, in little countries such as ours, economic prospects (their inspiration) ought not to be more like the beach at Le Diamant:  cyclical, changeable, mutating, running through an economy of disorder whose detail would be meticulously calculated but whose comprehensive view would change rapidly depending on different circumstances.

That is what we have to shake off.  To return to the sources of our cultures and the mobility of their relational content, in order to have a better appreciation of this disorder and to modulate every action according to it.  To adapt action to the various possibilities in turn.


Can commoning experiments succeed only if we distance ourselves from the current condition?


There are three things:
to walk,
to see,
and to see what you see.


The 3 parts feed into each other.  Documents, maps, artefacts and voices from different (ex)Urban territories (1.) give storytelling, research methods, thesis questions and positions (2.)  These frame design projects across the world, against different Crises (3.)

Connecting with an Agent (an organization, cooperative, a synergy of institutions including our own studio), driving social change, gives focus to the projects.  The Archipelago model gives an expanded understanding of ‘Site’:  a Mesh of actors, vectors, fields and objects.  This connects us - directly or remotely - to the fallout of the climate crisis and the decline of the commons.

Invested in these networked sites we design spaces of commoning, sanctuary, or shelter - for social justice, integration, conservation, renewal, public space and, sometimes, the pursuit of joy and freedom - in ways that Might Actually Work.

(1)  Timothy Morton, “Molten Entities,” New Geographies 08: Island (2016): 72

(3) Pier Vittorio Aureli & Maria Shéhérazade Giudici, “Islands:  The Settlement from Property to Care,” Log 47: Overcoming Carbon Form (Fall 2019): 191

(5) Benton MacKaye, “ATC Members’ Handbook.”
(2) Édouard Glissant, “The Black Beach,” in Poetics of Relation, trans. Betsy Wing (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1997), 125-126

(4)  Jonathan Pugh, “Relationality and island studies in the Anthropocene,” Island Studies Journal, 13(2), 2018:  105

Archipelago Studio 2020-21: Jennifer Bai, Ivy Chan, Atieh Daneshian, Yvonne Fu, Safina Moloo, Irina Rouby-Apelbaum, Lynn Sang, JiaJia Shi, Stephanie Tung

Archipelago Studio 2021-22:  Meena Alcozai, Latoya Barnett, Alejandra Chauca Velez, Delaney McVeigh, Keenan Ngo, Veronika Salamun, Priyanka Shah,  Kon Shin, Hongtao Shen, Dipra Shetty

Archipelago Studio 2022-23:  Farah Aldaghestani, Zanira Ali, Mia Chen, Ramisa Eva, Chuan He, Jerry Lin, Katrina Santos, Marcelline Siu, Clement Sung, Osei Wirecko, Tianyu Zhang

© Archipelago Studio @ the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design, University of Toronto.