Multicentred Systemic Design Pedagogy Through Real-Life Empathy

Integral and Inclusive Practice-Based Education in the Research-by-Design Context




This article reflects on my integral design studio teaching and inclusiveness in its design processes. This is exemplified in two different systemic design case studies focusing on social and environmental justice via the lens of empathy. The design studio and/or design practice tend to be fused in this article because my design studios have always focused on practice-based, real-life built projects, while my commercial and not-for-profit practices have always implemented design education in real-life built projects through internships and/or other student participation. Therefore, my approach fully follows the pathway of ‘learning by doing’(Dewey, 1997), focusing on systemic feedback looping of integral real-life experience and reflection through research and practice, targeting brighter post-Anthropocene futures.


Marie Davidova, Welsh School of Architecture / Collaborative Collective, z.s.

Marie Davidová, MArch, MNAL, ARB, Ph.D. is a lecturer (teaching & research) at the Welsh School of Architecture (WSA) where she leads Synergetic Landscapes Unit in MAAD program. She is a founding member and chair of Collaborative Collective practice design-research network NGO and a founding member of Systemic Design Association. Marie is a practising architect registered in Norway and UK, researcher and educator. She has defended her PhD thesis ‘Wood as a Primary Medium to Eco-Systemic Performance: The Case Study in Systemic Approach to Architectural Performance’ (Davidová, 2017) in Architecture: Theory and Creation in January 2018 at the Czech Technical University in Prague, the Faculty of Architecture (FA CTU), MOLAB Department. The thesis was developed under the supervision of Miloš Florián (FLO|W) and Birger Sevaldson (Ocean Design Research Association) and represents an in-depth case study investigation within SAAP design field. At this department, Marie had been also collaborating as a scientific consultant in studios FLO|W and PET‐MAT between 2013 and 2017. Before joining WSA, she has been a researcher and principal investigator of Systemic Approach to Architectural Performance (SAAP) project held at the Faculty of Art and Architecture at the Technical University of Liberec (FUA TUL) in cooperation with the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO).

Marie gained her master’s degree in architecture (2007) at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design under the supervision of Birger Sevaldson (Ocean Design Research Association) and Per Kartvedt (Archigram) with a thesis and environment-responsive installation ‘HOLOSLO – The Penetrating of Latent’ (Davidová, 2007) that was developed with Systems Oriented Design. Marie worked as an architect in design-research practices Snøhetta and Expology in Oslo, and researched and taught as a university lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Art at the University of Science and Technology in Trondheim (NTNU). She taught, as a Visiting Course Leader, trans-disciplinary studios in collaboration with the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences at the Czech University of Life Sciences; at both the Architectural Institute in Prague, and FUA TUL. These two courses focused on, and resulted in the construction of two, full-scale prototype pavilions. Both pavilions used environment-responsive strategies to mitigate urban heat island conditions in Prague. Marie founded and led Trends and Tendencies in Contemporary Architecture reading seminar at FUA TUL, which focused on such design-research implementation in today's practice. Her latest trans-disciplinary community co-design built projects COLridors I and II are to use the environmental responsiveness for bio-top and bio-corridor support within the city centre of Prague and Třebíč. The project also uses responsive wood concept for variety of micro-climates for dwellings of other species. For the built prototypes – ‘eco-systemic urban interventions’ - in public space, Marie founded a multi-genre community festival EnviroCity to promote her research and sustainable cities in general to public.

Marie has founded the Systemic Approach to Architectural Performance (SAAP) design field. This field discusses the question of cities’ adaptation to climate change and biodiversity loss. Current environmental ecology research shows that species that have adapted to agricultural land hundreds of years ago are recently adapting for life within the cities. Our agricultural land has become so toxic, due to pesticides, etc., that the built environment now offers them better living conditions. Our cities therefore need to adapt for such co-living situation. The research demonstrates this through full-scale eco-systemic prototypical urban interventions and their historical context studies. It considers not only the prototypes’ design and creation process but also their performance within the ‘real life’ environment. This covers observations of their generative co-designing agency across the eco-system and speculations of their futures. This is including human and non-human communities. Further on, the work­ reaches larger scale and layer through spreading its parametric DIY recipes and codes for prototypes’ locally adapted iterations for communities across the world.

SAAP is fusion of process‐based fields formally initiated by integration of Systems Oriented Design and Performance Oriented Architecture. It develops methodology and generates theory through experimental practice. SAAP involves Time Based Eco‐Systemic Trans-Disciplinary Co‐Design that is performed by both biotic and abiotic agents, including humans. It belongs to broader field of Systemic Design, considering overall eco-system. Marie has held guest lectures, presentations and workshops in this field across Europe, North America, Asia, Africa and Oceania, where she is also widely published and exhibited.

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Hvordan referere

Davidova, M. (2020). Multicentred Systemic Design Pedagogy Through Real-Life Empathy: Integral and Inclusive Practice-Based Education in the Research-by-Design Context . FormAkademisk, 13(5).




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