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Brave new world


Building the world of tomorrow

Masters Thesis, Academic year 2020-21
Promoter: Caroline Sohie in collaboration with Alex Christodoulou

Change is a challenging prospect but evermore present in our lives, disrupting our worlds and threatening engrained claims on wellbeing, livelihood, societal status and security.

The design studio BRAVE NEW WORLD is a call to cease the fear of change and embrace it as a positive agent that can enable the transition towards better futures. Through the lens of uncertainty, different inroads are explored on how the future can be re-imagined with the insight of the present.

The studio is a critical design platform to provoke informed debate and reflection on the broader societal role of architectural practice and gain insight, through critique and design, in one’s own engagement with a changing reality.   The studio is conceptualised in collaboration with computational design engineer Alex Christodoulou to cross-fertilise concepts bridging disciplines, media and techniques. The following fundamental questions will lead the conceptual framing;

What is the role of design in a world of uncertainty?

How can architectural practice be a strategic enabler of change? 

What drives the design of tomorrow’s world?

Are we designing for the future or designing the future?

The focus on infrastructure space as a spatio-temporal construct, will be the entry-point to explore strategic and pertinent agendas impacting our built environment.  In this context infrastructure is not considered the urban substructure, but the urban structure itself. The studio will interrogate the tangible and invisible parameters that inform networks, linkages, constellations – ranging from geo-political territories to food supply – networks that govern our global urbanism over time.

In this studio each student will develop their own understanding of infrastructural space and develop means to hack into these systems and counterbalance, disrupt or redirect the existing relations, unlocking the potential for positive change. The project will be a result of a reiterative design process linking three scales; society, the city and the local intervention.

The studio encourages radical and provocative ideas that expose and challenge the status quo, test the systemic role of spatial interventions across scales and bring an original, imaginative perspective towards building the world of tomorrow.

Prominent features of the studio;

  • Critical provocations; challenge the role of architectural practice in a global society
  • Analysing complexity; explore the fluctuant forces impacting the context of design
  • Develop design drivers; create a critical framework to enable ‘change by design’
  • Scenario planning; tools for critical engagement with imagined futures
  • Trans-disciplinary design; hybrid approaches to reconceptualise the built environment
  • Parametric conceptualisation; approaches to test variables and design assumptions
  • Visualisation techniques; linking data, knowledge and storytelling
  • Strategic architectural practice; visionary design strategies towards catalytic change

For detailed information, please read the Brave New World Studio Brief  

Photo: Crash Landed © Ken Hermann