Site Stories: explorations of urban spaces through drawing and animation (25–29 April 2022)
  • Tenna Doktor Olsen Tvedebrink & Tina Vestermann Olsen | Workshop at Aalborg University, Denmark

  • Site Stories Site Stories Site Stories
  • Site Stories: explorations of urban spaces through drawing and animation (25–29 April 2022)
  • Tenna Doktor Olsen Tvedebrink & Tina Vestermann Olsen | Workshop at Aalborg University, Denmark
  • “The most wonderful thing we can experience is the sense of mystery. It is a source of all true art and of all science. Whosoever has never felt this emotion, who no longer knows how to stop and meditate and remain transfixed in fearful admiration, is like a dead person.” Albert Einstein

    (Original titel in Danish: Stedet Fortælling: undersøgt gennem håndtegning og animation)

    The workshop Site Stories challenged the traditional technical-engineering and more factual understanding of the materiality of an urban space with an artistic, fictional, and bodily-sensual perspective! With the aim of engendering a poetic and imaginative sense of place we encouraged bachelor students in architecture and urban design to pay extra attention to the stories revealed in surfaces and details in a number of selected urban spaces and historical building sites. The pedagogical purpose of the workshop was to teach students to start experimenting with their understanding of materiality, and to begin to fantasize about how humans are sentient bodies and narrative beings, as well as to strengthen students’ future understanding of how to design urban spaces. But – importantly – we also aimed to provide a space for students to make their own surprising discoveries and explorations on site thinking, to delve into different drawing techniques and to discover the potential of animation as a valuable design tool in the creative design process. 

    Inspired by the books Site-writing: The Architecture of Art Criticism and The Architecture of Psychoanalysis: Spaces of Transition written by our guest lecturer; Professor Jane Rendell from the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL) in England, the overall structure of the workshop was divided into five phases: 1) The Material, 2) The Emotional, 3) The Remembered, 4) The Dreamed, and 5) The Imagined. The first two phases focused on drawing techniques. Here students explored working with smaller drawing paper and vignettes, with paper larger than themselves and frottage, as well as with different retelling opportunities through bricolage and collage.  In the final three phases, students worked with animation. With the help of the two award-winning animators; Michelle Kranot and Uriel Kranot leaders of the ANIDOX at the Center for Animation, Vizualization, and Digital Storytelling at VIA University College in Denmark, our students reinterpreted ways of telling and analysing an urban site. 

    In the end, all the drawing explorations and animations were collected to create a joint exhibition and booklet. 


    Tenna Doktor Olsen Tvedebrink

    Tenna Doktor Olsen Tvedebrink (TDOT) is an Associate Professor in Architecture at Aalborg University. Her educational background combines architecture, design-engineering, sensory science, food sociology, and user experiences. This hybrid perspective results in research and teaching interests exploring social sustainability and how the built environment influence human behaviours and health/wellbeing. As part of this approach, she focuses specifically on embodiment, emotions, and empathy, as well as how research-based knowledge is translated into creative design thinking processes using design and ethnographic tools like storytelling, personas, scenarios, and storyboarding. In addition, TDOT served as the Head of Study Board developing the educational program and teaching curriculum from 2018-2020 at the Education of Architecture & Design.

    Tina Vestermann Olsen

    Tina Vestermann Olsen (TVO) is an Assistant Professor in Urban Design at Aalborg University. In addition, TVO has 8 years of practice experience working as an urban designer and project leader at landscape and urban studios. In parallel TVO has been affiliated with Aalborg University as an external lecturer. Since December 2020 TVO has been employed full time at AAU specializing within areas of transformation, user involvement and temporary experimentation. She works with theories and methods for developing urban areas via value driven involvement processes, that contribute to social sustainability. 

    Michelle & Uriel Kranot

    The Kranots are leaders of ANIDOX, with a focus on animated documentaries, as part of the Animation Workshop, at the Center for Animation, Visualization and Digital Storytelling at VIA University College. They hold various key positions as researchers and educators in the Center for Visual Storytelling and are active curators and guest lecturers internationally. Both are members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and have been recently honored with the Grand Jury Prize for Best VR Immersive Work at the 77th La Biennale di Venezia and Best Immersive XR at the 74th Cannes Film Festival. 

    Find out more at:

    Shelley Smith

    Architect – Urbanist – Researcher – Mediator

    Throughout her professional journey from designer to architect to urbanist, Shelley’s focus has remained on the sensorial dialogues we engage in with our physical surroundings. Her area of practice is uncovering deeper narratives in interpretation and expressing these through written, spoken and illustrated words, and through image, film, paint and collage.

    Jane Rendell is Professor of Critical Spatial Practice at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, where she co-initiated and teaches on the new MA Situated Practice, as well as the MA Architectural History. Her research, writing and educational practice crosses architecture, art, feminism, history and psychoanalysis. And she has introduced concepts of ‘critical spatial practice’ and ‘site-writing’ through her authored books: The Architecture of Psychoanalysis (2017), Silver (2016), Site-Writing (2010), Art and Architecture (2006), and The Pursuit of Pleasure (2002).

    Find out more at:


    Our bachelor students, despite being trained as architects and urban designers, are educated within a more traditional design-engineering mindset. Most teachings are thus based on a systematic-analytical approach and a natural scientific world view, where design projects are informed by empirical data collection and thorough documentation based on metrical measurements, statistical significance, digital simulation, and rigorousness. 

    We have challenged this traditional engineering practice by raising awareness of the poetic importance and creative value of more intangible and highly subjective qualities of architecture and urban space such as individual sensory perception, shifting emotion, pure fiction, and imagination.   

    workshop, architectural education, site stories, translation, drawing, animation


    Jane Rendell, Site-writing: The Architecture of Art Criticism (IB Tauris, 2010).

    Jane Rendell, The Architecture of Psychoanalysis: Spaces of Transition (IB Tauris, 2017).

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