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.

The Archipelago invents real design actions + architectures vs. conditions of Crisis. It pursues research + design across global, networked sites - places without a center. It therefore un-centers ‘solutions’ and builds resiliency from the periphery, through storytelling, craft, and activism. The Archipelago encourages rebuilding and working with what we have. It builds partnerships with agents of change; makes arguments and exhibitions; proposes shelter, sanctuary, (public) spaces of freedom and joy. The Archipelago enables acts of change: reuse, rebuiding, resistance.

This page features Research and Thesis works from January 2020 to April 2023:  28 short films and project experiments for Architecture and Urbanism against global Crises - climate and social, intertwined.

Archipelago is a network of islets and of urban voids; 16 artefacts of 3 migrations; a river, a flood, a fire; typologies for quid-pro-quo reuse; stations along a walkscape; objects on a floorscape; a tactical migration vessel or a traveling construction site; events in a city past the point of no return; incomplete buildings; subacqueous spaces; floating memorials; a design fiction (or utopia) across space/time.

How can architecture & its media respond to a world on fire?

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


Such explorations begin as narrative documentations of expanded sites and crises (not areas or plots but actors, vectors, fields, objects); establish inquiries and positions, define partnerships (not programs) and produce actionable designs: field operations, tactical or incremental urbanism, informal occupations, policy, public space, adaptive reuse, indigenous allyship, and strategic design projects.  They conclude in an exhibition, a visual essay, and an  argument.

Atlas:  guide:  action: shelter: commons:  sanctuary. This Archipelago is both figure and ground.  A mesh of vectors, actors, field, objects. It enables spaces of Freedom & Joy.

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: not an ideal space, but a real condition, a subaqueous and urban field 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.

Incremental, temporary or incomplete;  inductive, rather than deductive, vectors and cuts rather than masterplans; agents and partners rather than clients; urgent needs rather than program. 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.


How can we un-build and re-build anything?


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


The 3 parts feed into each other.  Documents, maps, artefacts, voices and witnesses (1.) build up storytelling, research methods, thesis questions and positions (2.)  These frame design projects across the world, against different Crises (3.),  in ways that Might Actually Work.

Is architectural activism an architecture without architects?

(1)  Timothy Morton, “Molten Entities,” New Geographies 08: Island (2016): 72
(3)  Jonathan Pugh, “Relationality and island studies in the Anthropocene,” Island Studies Journal, 13 (2), 2018:  105
(2) Édouard Glissant, “The Black Beach,” in Poetics of Relation, trans. Betsy Wing (Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1997), 125-126

(4) Benton MacKaye, “ATC Members’ Handbook.”

Archipelago 01 (2020-21): Jennifer Bai, Ivy Chan, Atieh Daneshian, Yvonne Fu, Safina Moloo, Irina Rouby-Apelbaum, Lynn Sang, JiaJia Shi, Stephanie Tung

Archipelago 02 (2021-22):  Meena Alcozai, Latoya Barnett, Alejandra Chauca Velez, Delaney McVeigh, Keenan Ngo, Veronika Salamun, Priyanka Shah,  Kon Shin, Hongtao Shen, Dipra Shetty

Archipelago 03 (2022-23):  Farah Aldaghestani, Zanira Ali, Mia Chen, Ramisa Eva, Chuan He, Yimin Hu, Jerry Lin, Katrina Santos, Marcelline Siu, Clement Sung, Osei Wirecko, Tianyu Zhang

Archipelago 04 (2023-24):  Zikun An, Andreia Afonso, Jessica Babe, Will Banks, Nada Basamh, Maggie Ghobrial, Jimmy Hung, Yanchen Huo, Jordan Nisenbaum, Silya Sarieddine, Qiaochu Yang.

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