Half-thoughts that may be turned into full thoughts for the mid-review:
This thesis focuses on the architectural implications of the anti-scenario put forth by the IBM Corporation’s Smarter Planet initiative. We feel that this program is indicative of larger cultural trends associated with the increasing power and ubiquitous presence of extreme technologies – specifically in regard to how these technologies are implemented to reduce individual agency. These larger cultural trends involve a reductionist attitude that removes subtlety, depth, and true haptic interactivity.
We suggest that resisting this ideology has been present as a minor undercurrent throughout the advancement of culture at large. We begin to question architecture’s complicity in advancing and perpetuating that ideology. We begin to question the fundamental implications of social ‘progress’ and its implementation through design. The purpose then of this thesis is to examine how resistance might begin to take place in these future foe scenarios.
An examination of the lack and/or destruction of grey spaces in NYC is shown to suggest that rather than focusing on the “optimization” of space, we should rather be facilitating the production of free space. We should be broadening the discourse of architecture rather than stultifying it with the promotion that smarter equals better or smarter equals desirable.
To do so, we began our investigation with a program that is traditionally taboo in order to extract its potential “grey-ness” as an operational device. Subsequently, through the examination of what have been termed ‘Subnatures,’ we find potential environments that might provide the unofficial negative to the ‘anti-scenario’ mentioned previously. These are the environments that are unwittingly formed in the creation of ‘regular’ space.
The project, at its core, is an allegory for the potential within even the most well-wrought plans. Even within these future foe scenarios, we believe that subnatural environments will create themselves. In turn,
At the end of this process, what we are ultimately questioning arrives that the futility of architecture itself. As architects we are endowed with the unique ability to potentially affect experience through extended periods of time
More loosely, the thesis may be situated as a simple exploration of what it takes to design for the darker side of human experience. Ideally, this pursuit would avoid the simple dystopian future as purely exploratory exercise, focusing more on what the specifics are in the creation of alternate futures – not simply design for the dark side, but design for the possibility for a darker human experience.