Platforms and Dwelling

Topologies of Distributed Domesticity


  • Lorinc Vass Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Roy Cloutier
  • Nicole Sylvia



Under contemporary capitalism and platform urbanism, domesticity distorts to take on new forms. Dwelling is simultaneously decentralised and re-distributed via digital and urban networks. This article argues that these new forms of dwelling necessitate new modes of critique – ones primed for this networked, spatially distributed condition. It proposes to supplement typological and topographical approaches to dwelling with the more ‘anexactly rigorous’ relational cartography offered by the field of topology.

The article begins with an outline of topology, drawing on mathematics, philosophy and geography towards a reconceptualisation of architecture as a boundary-drawing apparatus. The topological condition of modern dwelling is then retraced as a genealogy of interpenetrating edifices, mediating membranes, and prosthetic equipment, which have prefigured present-day formations of domesticity. The second half of the article trains this topological lens onto three architectural tendencies in response to platform urbanism: convivial arrangements of networked living, commoning platforms and thresholds, and counter-protocols of distributed domesticity. Through unpacking these trajectories, the article illustrates the potential that a topological approach engenders via new modes of mapping, critiquing, resisting and subverting the unequally distributed agency and power underlying the circuits of platform urbanism.


Aureli, Pier Vittorio and Martino Tattara. ‘Platforms: Architecture and the Use of the Ground’. e-flux Architecture, October 2019. Online at Accessed 18 Sep 2023.

Aureli, Pier Vittorio and Martino Tattara. ‘Soft Cell: The Minimum Dwelling’. The Architectural Review, 30 July 2018. Online at Accessed 18 Sep. 2023.

Aureli, Pier Vittorio, Martino Tattara and DOGMA. Platforms: Architecture and the Use of the Ground. Milano: Black Square, 2021.

Aureli, Pier Vittorio. ‘The Common and the Production of Architecture: Early Hypotheses’. In Common Ground: A Critical Reader, ed. David Chipperfield, Kieran Long and Shumi Bose. Venice: Marsilio, 2012), 147–56.

Aureli, Pier Vittorio. The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011.

Bailey, Kenneth and Keller Easterling, ‘Imagining Relational Infrastructures’. Nonprofit Quarterly, 21 December 2021. Online at Accessed 18 Sep. 2023.

Barad, Karen. Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007.

Barns, Sarah. Platform Urbanism: Negotiating Platform Ecosystems in Connected Cities. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

Benjamin, Walter. The Arcades Project, trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Blackwell, Adrian. ‘What Is Property? Notes on the Topology of Land as the “Historical Precondition” and “Permanent Foundation” of Capitalist Architecture’. Journal of Architectural Education 68, no.1 (2014): 50–54.

Blackwell, Brent M. ‘Cultural Topology: An Introduction to Postmodern Mathematics’. Reconstruction 4, no. 4 (2004).

Brott, Simone. ‘Collective Equipments of Power: The Road and the City’. Thresholds no. 40 (2012): 47–54.

Bryant, Levi R. Onto-Cartography: An Ontology of Machines and Media, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.

Calhoun, Arthur W. A Social History of the Family vol. 3. Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark Co., 1919.

Choe, Sanki, Jorge Almazán and Katherine Bennett. ‘The Extended Home: Dividual Space and Liminal Domesticity in Tokyo and Seoul’, Urban Design International 21, no. 4 (2016): 298–316.

Crary, Jonathan, 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep. London: Verso, 2013.

Davis, Heather and Eyal Weizman. ‘Proportionality, Violence, and the Economy of Calculations: Eyal Weizman in Conversation with Heather Davis’. Scapegoat: Architecture, Landscape, Political Economy no. 5 (2013): 130–47.

DeLanda, Manuel. Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013.

Deleuze, Gilles. ‘Postscript on the Societies of Control’. October 59 (1992): 3–7.

Díaz Moreno, Cristina and Efrén García Grinda. Third Natures: A Micropedia. London: Architectural Association, 2014.

Easterling, Keller. Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space. London: Verso, 2014.

Easterling, Keller. Medium Design: Knowing How to Work on the World. London: Verso, 2021.

Galloway, Alexander R. Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2004.

Gillespie, Tarleton. ‘The Politics of “Platforms”’. New Media & Society 12, no. 3 (2010): 347–64.

Gorny, Robert A. ‘A Cartography of Discourses on Architectures of Life and/or Death’. In Architectures of Life and Death: The Eco-Aesthetics of the Built Environment, ed. Andrej Radman and Stavros Kousoulas. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2021, 103–27.

Gorny, Robert A. ‘A Relational Conception of Living Together⁄Apart’. In The Architecture of Together and Apart: An Inquiry into Apartment Buildings, ed. Matīss Groskaufmanis, Evelīna Ozola and Anda Skrējāne. Riga: New Theatre Institute of Latvia, 2018, 179–187.

Gorny, Robert A. ‘Reclaiming What Architecture Does: Towards an Ethology and Transformative Ethics of Material Arrangements’. Architecture Theory Review 22, no. 2 (2018): 188–209.

Gough, Tim. ‘Flows of Capitalism, Flows of Architecture’. Ardeth 3 (2018): 96–114.

Heynen, Hilde. Architecture and Modernity: A Critique. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999.

Hörl, Erich. ‘The Environmentalitarian Situation: Reflections on the Becoming-Environmental of Thinking, Power, and Capital’. Cultural Politics 14, no. 2 (2018): 153–73.

Krivý, Maroš. ‘Platform Urbanism and Knowledge-Power’. In Urban Platforms and the Future City, ed. Mike Hodson et al. London: Routledge, 2020: 164–76.

Krivý, Maroš. ‘Platform: Taking the Metaphor Seriously’ In Platform Urbanism and Its Discontents, ed. Mooshammer and Mörtenböck. Rotterdam: nai010, 2021, 161–62.

Lury, Celia, Luciana Parisi and Tiziana Terranova. ‘Introduction: The Becoming Topological of Culture’. Theory, Culture & Society 29, no. 4–5 (2012): 3–35.

Martin, Lauren and Anna J. Secor. ‘Towards a Post-Mathematical Topology’. Progress in Human Geography 38, no. 3 (2014): 420–438.

Meyer, Hannes et al. Hannes Meyer Co-op Interieur. Leipzig: Spector Books, 2015.

Mooshammer, Helge and Peter Mörtenböck, eds. Platform Urbanism and Its Discontents. Rotterdam: nai010, 2021.

Nango, Yoshikazu. ‘Solitary and Social’. Canadian Centre for Architecture, 5 March 2021. Online at Accessed 18 Sep. 2023.

Nuijsink, Cathelijne, ‘House Vision: Architects and Industry Awakening “House” Desires and Visualising New Ways of Living’. Footprint 24 (2019): 139–52.

Raunig, Gerald. ‘After Community: Condividuality’. In Dance, Politics & Co-Immunity, ed. Gerald Siegmund and Stefan Hölscher. Zurich: Diaphanes, 2013, 271–79.

Raunig, Gerald. Dividuum: Machinic Capitalism and Molecular Revolution. South Pasadena: Semiotext(e), 2016.

Rawes, Peg, ed. Relational Architectural Ecologies: Architecture, Nature and Subjectivity. London: Routledge, 2013.

Richardson, Lizzie. ‘Coordinating the City: Platforms as Flexible Spatial Arrangements’, Urban Geography 41, no. 3 (2020): 458–61.

Sauvanargues, Anne, ‘Crystals and Membranes: Individuation and Temporality’. In Gilbert Simondon: Being and Technology, ed. Arne De Boever. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2012, 57–70.

Sloterdijk, Peter. ‘Talking to Myself about the Poetics of Space’. Harvard Design Magazine 30 (Spring/Summer 2009). Online at Accessed 18 Sep. 2023.

Spanedda Francesco and Matteo Carmine Fusaro. ‘New Approaches to Housing Complexity: Designing Dwellings in the Age of Cognitive Economy’. City, Territory and Architecture 7, no. 19 (2020). Online at: Accessed 18 Sep. 2023.

Spencer, Douglas. ‘The Limits of Limits: Schmitt, Aureli and the Geopolitical Ontology of the Island’. New Geographies 8 (Island) (2016): 118–27.

Spencer, Douglas. The Architecture of Neoliberalism: How Contemporary Architecture Became an Instrument of Control and Compliance. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016.

Srnicek, Nick. Platform Capitalism. Cambridge: Polity, 2017.

Stavrides, Stavros. ‘Common Space as Threshold Space: Urban Commoning in Struggles to Re-appropriate Public Space’. Footprint 16 (2015): 9–20.

Stavrides, Stavros. Common Space: The City as Commons. London: Zed Books, 2016.

Teyssot, Georges. ‘A Topology of Thresholds’. Home Cultures 2, no. 1 (2005): 89–116.

Teyssot, Georges. A Topology of Everyday Constellations. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013.

Vass, Lőrinc, Roy Cloutier and Nicole Sylvia. ‘Environments (out) of Control: Notes on Architecture’s Cybernetic Entanglements’. Footprint 28 (2021): 81–98.