Updated Thesis Abstract 10/27

This is my updated thesis abstract, with revisions from my professor.

As the impact of environmental neglect becomes manifest in extreme climatic changes, the political mechanisms that society depends on to initiate necessary adaptations to climate policy in our built environment will ultimately fail. This failure is a result of the inability of municipal, regional and federal bureaucracies to take seriously, the larger, more controversial long-term climatic issues. As a result of this unwillingness to create proactive change, our society is incapable of dealing with the dramatic events that will result from climatic change. These changes include droughts and floods that will cause food and water shortages, as well as degradation in infrastructure and municipal service collapses. As these events unfold over time, fear, hysteria, and ultimately paranoia will prevail, causing a return to survivalist individualism. As a result of this societal collapse, the necessity for self-preservation will lead to a transformation in the built environment. Current models based on municipal infrastructure and services will be replaced by informal and improvised renegade systems and self-sufficient mechanisms built by a single family or faction to ensure their survival. These mechanisms must tackle the services that are now provided by municipal and corporate systems, including, but not limited to, water collection and purification, electricity production, waste management, and food production. Ultimately, the solutions will take the form of improvised prototypes, differing depending on specific adaptations to location and available resources.

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Final Visual Abstract and some rethinking

Final iteration of the Visual Abstract

The Visual Abstract was intended to demonstrate the necessity of society to change its mode of inhabitation in response to the dangers of climate change. The main idea is that man is still trapped in an archaic mode of inhabitation, which maintains its attachment to the ground as the datum line of reality. With vertical density growing rapidly, the use of the ground as a singular circulatory plane is inefficient and illogical. The ground is more than a foundation of our built environment, it represents the ecology that our civilization depends on. There are also inherent criticisms of political and bureaucratic systems that contribute to a reactive, rather than proactive, attitude towards drastic changes in man’s mode of inhabitation. The issue of sea level rise is used as a mechanism that has the opportunity to lead to a forced rethinking of the way in which man inhabits. Prior to this we had to write and submit a one-paragraph thesis statement.

The image seemed unsuccessful to me because, although addressing sea level rise and inhabitational change, it failed to visually represent the sociopolitical criticisms that are to me the most important. This thinking was further compounded after an in class discussion on Friday in my Thesis Research class, and even further compounded after I finally got a chance on Sunday to read a newly purchased copy of Pamphlet Architecture 14: Mosquitoes.

After finding myself more interested in criticizing the mechanisms and tendencies of today’s society, I am wondering if my thesis shouldn’t address how to rebuild society in what actually seems to be a more utopian dream, but should address how to subversively tear it down. MOSQUITOES argues that there is a noxious gas that chokes our intelligence, imagination, and individuality, and the only ways to save oneself are to equip yourself with an Analog, an -ism proof, free thinking causing, question inciting, technological mechanism, or to escape to geopolitically isolated, mobile communities known as Renegade Cities.

The more I think about it, the more there seems to be a line of thinking that has actually stretched back to a struggle I witnessed occurring in our studio, which was the struggle between creativity and production. The studio was aimed at the comprehensive design of a building, from concept design to the design of HVAC and mechanical systems. The idea of production was drilled into the heads of the students, and to cope, most turned to BIM software that could produce all of the imagery required, plans, sections, elevations, renderings, in a shorter amount of time, and because more students worked with it, the more it became a design tool. The factors of time management and software ability compounded to result in a stunning number of average and poor projects, complete with all of the necessary drawings and renderings of a good project, but without the ideas.

As a result of this experience, I read a solid portion of Architecture In the Age of Divided Representation, which just so happened to be subtitled: The question of creativity in the shadow of production, and although the idea of production was different (rushed production in studio versus proliferated production in building industry) the main idea was generally the same, that societal creativity has been undermined by short sighted, profit questioning, self interest groups. Even beginning this thesis, the work that has interested me the most was by far the work of Archigram, and I think it was just as much about the societal commentary as the visionary and creative architectural and technological solutions.

Ultimately, it seems to me what happened was that I started with a desire for polemics, but I was not entirely sure how to turn that desire into a thesis, so I attempted to combine it with other ideas about responding to sea level rise and ecological urbanism, and it probably could have turned into a thesis, but I think I would like to brainstorm on these topics and probably rewrite the thesis statement.

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iteration 2: idea map/things I cant live without

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idea map

Idea map - failed attempt to plot out thematic and particular interests. Not just ideas, but also means to convey and incite ideas.

This was an attempt to create an idea map, the process of which consisted of attempting to plot out your ideas and examples of those ideas, but what I found was that so many of them were interconnected that I really just wanted to put them in one big ball in the center of the page. It seems as though the period we are entering is flush with good ideas that can all be tied together, from user interactivity and customization, to an intense focus on the reuniting of architecture, urbanism, landscape architecture, and ecology.

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visual abstract

Visual Abstract - Before and after of each collage. Change is inevitable, the sooner we address it the more developed a response will be.

So it seems the question is, what have I learned through this process? I guess the realization I have made is that I just have too many interests, which is almost counteractive to the specificity of a thesis, but there has formed a kind of linearity in that they are not counteractive to each other, they almost form a process. What has clouded my vision this whole time was a desire to do something unique, experimental, visionary, a simulacra of reality, but that is an ends to the mean. For example, I am interested in phenomenology, ecological urbanism, networks, interconnectivity, and interactivity, but phenomenology and interactivity are not at all separate, and interconnectivity is a result of networks, which are inherent to tenants of ecological urbanism. When the idea of visionary comes in it is actually a site decision, but it is not a site in place, but in time. I am most interested in looking ahead, tackling the problems that architects refuse to tackle now, because there is a belief that by looking beyond the present, one can incite ideas that will bring others to envision the future, and when that day finally comes, the day the cities would have flooded and mankind would have been on the brink of self-destruction, the visions of doom were merely an afterthought because of simple proactivity.

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lexicon of visual interests

Cyborg Plants taken from http://m.ammoth.us/blog/

OMA's Zeekracht Project for North Sea courtesy http://www.oma.eu/

Field Diagrams from Stan Allen's From Object To Field

High Houses by Lebbeus Woods courtesy of http://lebbeuswoods.wordpress.com/

Antonio DiMambro's 1988 Proposal for Boston Harbor Islands courtesy of architectureboston.com

Lateral Office's Emergent North Project courtesy of http://infranetlab.org/blog/

Archigram's Living City courtesy of http://archigram.westminster.ac.uk/

Smout Allen's Geofluidic Landscapes courtesy http://www.smoutallen.com/

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Flooded Boston

Montage of Flooded Boston and New Networked Infrastructure

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