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Workaround: Capitalism, Society, and the Architecture of Work
M.Arch 1 Studio | AY2020-21 Semester 2


Workaround engages a new work ethics focused on advocacy, agility and renewal. The studio expands the definition of labour/work, and looks to change its architecture. In line with work practices that are rapidly evolving (galvanized by gradual changes such as generational preferences, or momentous events such as the current pandemic and climate change), projects will revisit and translate the notions of capital and capitalism. Looking back at Marx, and delving into more recent reinterpretations of capitalism, its theoretical premises are consolidated through close readings of texts by Bruno Latour, Brian Massumi, Isabelle Stengers, Peggy Deamer and Michael Taussig.

Working in pairs or threes, research and design processes will carve out specific creative, critical and productive design strategies, materialities, sites, and programmatic opportunities, that circumvent existing conventions, systems and structures of capitalist labour. Intending to instigate productive change in the built environment, the worker’s society and the worker, the resultant architecture is shaped by environmental, social, and professional challenges. It offers an alternative circulation of capital by (i) rethinking systemic limitations in the urban sphere, (ii) negotiating professional hierarchies, and (iii) managing social relations and demands (work-home, work-self).

Workaround shapes a social and architectural imagination which questions and repositions value, productivity and society in relation to work and capital.

Selected Works:




Aureli, Pier Vittorio. Project of Autonomy: Politics and Architecture Within and Against Capitalism. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2012.
Benjamin, Walter. ‘Paris: Capital of the Nineteenth Century (Expose of 1939)’. In The Arcades Project, edited by Rolf Tiedemann, translated by Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1999.
Deamer, Peggy. Architecture and Capitalism: 1845 to the Present. New York: Routledge, 2014.
Deleuze, Gilles, and Felix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1987.
Latour, Bruno, Isabelle Stengers, Anna Tsing, and Nils Bubandt. ‘Anthropologists Are Talking – About Capitalism, Ecology, and Apocalypse’. Ethnos 83, no. 3 (27 May 2018): 587–606.
Massumi, Brian. 99 Theses on the Revaluation of Value: A Postcapitalist Manifesto. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2018.
Taussig, Michael. ‘The Beach (A Fantasy)’. Critical Inquiry 26, no. 2 (2000): 249–78.

Image Above: Foragers' Street, Tan Jian Hao



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