Fiches de cours

UE U : Cartography


Enseignant(s) :

Maçães E Costa Bárbara




Orientation: G Urban Nature


This teaching unit aims to experiment with the medium of cartography as a means of spatial representation, and as a tool for reading, understanding and changing the territory.


Maps are visual tools for thinking about the world at many scales. They shape scientific hypotheses, organize political and military power, limit the boundaries of private property, and reflect cultural ideas about landscape and non-human nature. To the extent that our world-views inform our perceptions, maps have the power to actually make the territories they represent. Throughout Western modernity, Cartesian perspectives traced the world with respect to a fixed human subject position, while god's eye views surveyed the land from an abstract elevated `nowhere.' Cartography became the enterprise concerned with the analysis and measurement of the res extensa, that is, the management of nature as resource and neutral background for man`s actions and architectures. In today's context of ecological crisis, UE U: Cartography aims to promote ways of seeing the land that convey a decentering of this human-architectural sovereignty. Mapping environmental objects of study (be it a building, a lake, a mangrove or an industrial valley) cartography becomes a device to see architecture as environment making and unmaking ' as the disruptive collection of actions that build and destroy our organized forms of life.




1 (20/09) Architecture as Environmental Apparatus
Cartography against the object-landscape divide


2 (27/09) Drawing Attention I
Line, surface, dot, color


3 (04/10) Drawing Attention II
Field trip to the Geneva botanical gardens


4 (11/10) Cartography as Environmental Language
Frame, layer, system, figure


5 (18/10) Figures of Environmental Enclosure
Plantations, gardens, wastelands / Megastructures, follies, earthworks


6 (25/10) Body-Land Politics and Representation
Peace, gender, race, species, class


7 (01/11) Cartography as Commoning
Counter-mappings and other art-science activisms


8 (08/11) Mid-term Pin-Up
Guest jury Milica Topalovic and Christian Gilot


9 (15/11) Guest Lecture with Godofredo Pereira
Cartography and the Underground Frontier


10 (22/11) Guest Lecture with Denise Bertschi
Cartography and Colonial Memory


11 (29/11) Guest Lecture to be announced


12 (06/12) Final Pin-Up
Guest jury Adrien Verschuere and Harry Gugger


Cartography, architecture, drawing, environmental ethics/aesthetics, political ecology, situated knowledges.

Learning Prerequisites

Recommended courses

Architecture et construction de la ville (Gilot)

A Political History of Urban Form (Aureli)

Important concepts to start the course

Basic hand sketching skills appreciated but not mandatory. General concepts: palimpsest; territorial networks; landscape structures; mapping as reading; mapping as speculative fiction.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

Transversal skills

Teaching methods

Theoretical content will be provided through a series of lectures and practical assignments will be assisted by weekly desk critiques and intermediate reviews. Classes will occasionally include the close reading of historical maps and the analysis of texts or passages on cartography/landscape. Special focus will be given to hand drawing. AI, CAD and GIS assistance may also happen uppon request. The final submittal of the U.E. will consist of all the work produced during the semester.

Expected student activities

One of the classes will be a trip to a botanical garden.

Assessment methods

Continuous assessment. 

Intermediate exercises and desk critiques: 50% of grade. 

Review of final work: 30% of grade.

Visual Journal: 20% of grade.


Office hours Yes
Assistants No
Forum No



BIEMANN, Ursula and TAVARES, Paulo, Forest Law/Selva Jurídica. Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum and Michigan State University, 2014.

CERTEAU, Michel de, 'Walking in the City' in The Practive of Everyday Life. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1988, 91'110.

CORBOZ, André, Le Territoire Comme Palimpseste et Aurtres Essais. Paris: Les Éditions de L'Imprimeur, 2001.

COSGROVE, Denis, Geography and Vision: Seeing, Imagining and Representing the World. London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2008.

DEMOS, T.  J., Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today. Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2017.

ELDEN, Stuart, 'Land, terrain, territory' in Progress in Human Geography 34 (2010): 799'817.

GHOSN, Rania and JAZAIRY, El Hadi, Geostories: Another Architecture for the Environment. Barcelona: Actar, 2018.

GREGOTTI, Vittorio. 'The Form of the Territory.' On Territories, OASE, no. 80 (2009): 7'22. 

HARAWAY, Donna, 'Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective' in Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. Oxon and New York: Routledge, 1991, 575'599.

KURGAN, Laura, Close Up at a Distance: Mapping, Technology, and Politics. Brooklyn, NY: Zone Books, 2013.

MOGEL, Lize Mogel and BHAGAT, Alexis, An Atlas of Radical Cartography. Los Angeles, CA: Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Press, 2008.

MISRACH, Richard and ORFF, Kate, Petrochemical America. Reading, PA: Aperture, 2014.

PONTE, Alessandra, 'Maps and Territories' in The House of Light and Entropy. London: AA Publications, 2014, 169-216.

SLOTERDIJK, Peter, 'The Signs of Explorers: On Cartography and Imperial Name Magic.' in The World Interior of Capitalism: Towards a Philosophical Theory of Globalization. Malden, MA: Polity Press, 98'108.

Ressources en bibliothèque

Prerequisite for

Atelier Gugger (LABA)

Dans les plans d'études

    • Semestre
    • Forme de l'examen
       Pendant le semestre
    • Crédits
    • Matière examinée
      UE U : Cartography
    • Cours
      3 Heure(s) hebdo x 12 semaines
    • Exercices
      1 Heure(s) hebdo x 12 semaines
    • Semestre
    • Forme de l'examen
       Pendant le semestre
    • Crédits
    • Matière examinée
      UE U : Cartography
    • Cours
      3 Heure(s) hebdo x 12 semaines
    • Exercices
      1 Heure(s) hebdo x 12 semaines
  • Mobilité AR, 2019-2020, Semestre automne
    • Semestre
    • Forme de l'examen
       Pendant le semestre
    • Crédits
    • Matière examinée
      UE U : Cartography
    • Cours
      3 Heure(s) hebdo x 12 semaines
    • Exercices
      1 Heure(s) hebdo x 12 semaines

Semaine de référence

En construction
      Exercice, TP
      Projet, autre


  • Semestre d'automne
  • Session d'hiver
  • Semestre de printemps
  • Session d'été
  • Cours en français
  • Cours en anglais
  • Cours en allemand