Kathy Velikov – Climate SF
Climate SF cultivates ways to think and work on the topic of climate change that go beyond the technological mindset of conventional environmental design. The studio starts with stories that make worlds in the context of a changed climate: Climate SF novels by Le Guin, Ballard, Sterling, Butler, Atwood, Jemisin, Bacigalipi, and Robinson. The studio considers these texts not as futurisms but as “the realism of our time” that critically explore not only the possibilities of technology but the political, social, ideological, and ecological systems within which it is entangled.
If architecture is to think beyond its current condition, it is our prerogative to pull open the spaces of our world, to imagine alternative possibilities, to prototype these fragments and to explore their implications. As part of the “worldbuilding” analysis of the SF novels, students develop a Situated Apparatus drawing that maps their novel’s network of interrelationships and entanglements between sites, artifacts, humans, nonhumans, climate, agencies, practices, technologies, laws, and any other elements of the apparatus identified as part of the web in the world created by the author.
If science fiction can be understood as a kind of storytelling that creates “prototypes of other worlds, other experiences, other contexts for life” then a Diegetic Prototype is like an “artifact brought back from those worlds in order to be examined, studied over”, critically questioned. The SF novels are considered through Umberto Eco’s notion of “The Open Work.” In dialogue with each novel’s worldbuilding, its socio-political framework, and its environmental agency, students learn to tell new stories of being with, and develop prototypes for architectures, objects, and urbanisms that prototype possible fragments in relation to Climate SF. The Diegetic Prototype expands on the thought experiment of the novel through the medium of design and material speculation.
Gibson Davis + Brian Pekar – “Post-Human Transitional Symbiogenesis Outfit”
“What happens when the best biologies of the twenty-first century cannot do their job with bounded individuals plus contexts, when organisms plus environments, or genes plus whatever they need, no longer sustain the overflowing richness of biological knowledges, if they ever did?” – Donna Haraway
The world has changed in J.G. Ballard’s novel The Drowned World; cities and land everywhere have flooded with water due to intense solar flares. The sun beats down constantly emitting radiation, and all of the living species on earth are changing with the environment. In order to survive, humans need to find new ways of living in which they are no longer the dominant species, and instead turn to the renewed idea of living with their surroundings, as opposed to their traditional attempts of dominance and opposition. Reclaiming their spot within the order of natural things, humans are opened up to opportunities to coexist with other species. Possibilities of synthesis and symbiosis with alternative forms of living are explored, seeking positive benefits for all entities involved. Post-Human Transitional Symbiogenesis Outfit (P-HTSO) is a body architecture designed to assist humans and help them adapt to these new ways of living by offering new potentials for humans to survive and interact in this novel and ever-changing environment.
Claire Shue + Danrui Xiang – “Hygge”
Hygge (HOO-GA) is a speculative company focused on the needs of people in a post-sea-level-rise New York City by understanding their collective kinship within the rest of the world. In a city used to “living with the trouble”, Hygge hopes to lend a helping hand while also reminding residents that they are connected to something much larger than themselves.
Due to the rapid increase in sea level, large docks world-wide have all but been destroyed making traditional shipping nearly impossible. Hygge hopes that their new airship factory becomes a new model for making and delivery, by having the factory come to the consumer for on-demand goods.
The factory is a double-shelled, completely automated airship. Hydroponic systems line the outer-shell of the factory, holding cotton and algae, which are then processed through large looms. The drones then separate the textile and store the bundles in the middle of the factory. Then robotic arms, with the help of conveyor belts, make the products. When finished, products are then boxed and shipped out to the city below by drone. The project is heavily influenced by notable futurist Donna Haraway’s ideals, philosophies and themes and begins to dissect these teachings into actionable items. Hygge questions what would happen if these teachings were corrupted for corporate profit rather than common societal gain. The design envisions the company’s airship-based factory, products, and website. Hygge is introduced in a podcast by the fictional character Amelia from Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140.