This chapter presents a collaborative design workshop format as an effective methodology for cultivating a shared understanding of the spatial consequences of complex matters of public concern. This workshop was designed for an architectural educational setting and was developed by research through pedagogical practice. It uses actor-network theory (ANT) and, more generally, new materialisms, as theoretical frameworks. The chapter describes a specific case study where the workshop format was operationalised to generate a multifaceted understanding of how water, as an often taken for granted, and yet influential actor in the network of the city, shapes the built environment and lived experience of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Informed by feedback from the workshop collaborators and students, the authors reflect on the effectiveness of the approach and identify the useful pedagogical tactics employed. The workshop format and these tactics can be seen as a loose framework adapted by other architectural educators with similar ambitions to generate a multifaceted and relational understanding of complex spatial phenomena.