Master in City & Technology 2021/22 – Term II
Seminar Name: Platform Urbanism
Total Hours: 24 hours
Faculty: Nicolay Boyadjiev


A 5-day seminar and design charrette introducing the idiosyncratic concept of “platform urbanism” (i.e. the city at the intersection of architectural, software and institutional design) by combining design theory, speculative design and relevant contemporary case studies pertaining to critical current design threads ranging from data-municipalism, digital spatial products, “citizen-user” addressability protocols and the strategic leverage of existent / as-of-yet-nonexistent but urgently-needed composite platforms at urban scale.

Over the course of the week, we will explore, distort and repurpose old and new concepts such as “sensing”, “modelling”, “spatial infrastructure”, “surveillance”, “practice” and “agency” to compose our own new normal design vocabulary. In light of ongoing events, our goal will also be to conceptualise and gather insights from the recent “planetary-wide experiment in comparative governance” experienced in real-time during the 2020 lockdowns, and prototype / play-out possible & preferable trajectories for the concepts above as practical an open-ended design challenge within the urban realm. The workshop is inspired by the design-research methodology loosely drawn from the recently concluded “The New Normal”, the ongoing “The Terraforming”, and the “Revenge of the Real” initiatives at the Strelka Institute for Media Architecture and Design.

Rooted in the urban context of Barcelona, students will expand the traditional “ site” and “scope” in urban design and produce conceptual, architectural and narrative models to reflect the possible and preferable shifts of design agency and practice necessary at this critical juncture.


Nicolay Boyadjiev is an architect, strategic designer and creative director working between Montreal and Moscow. He is currently the co-director of Strelka Institute’s post-graduate education program, where he co-leads The Terraforming interdisciplinary design-research think-tank. He is also the co-author and editor of The New Normal (2020, Strelka Press + Park Books): a comprehensive record of the projects, provocations and insights developed during the 2017-19 design-research cycle at Strelka which set to develop and prototype new models for urban design practice at the intersection of software, cinema, strategy, and planning. Prior to joining Strelka, he has worked as an architectural designer, researcher, curator and strategist at internationally renowned studios ranging from boutique consultancies to larger architecture firms. He is currently based in Moscow (RU).