Empty Ascension: Envisioning a Dystopian Design

Benedictus Darryl Suryadi

Intro 1
The Collapsing Future

Dystopian fictions are the insinuation of humanity’s weakness and immoralities, highlighting and presenting the deadly implications of degenerate moral choices. Science fiction writers do so by exaggerating the vices as a totalising element of the setting, questioning the ethics and principles of such a place. Architecture is utilised as the manifestation of the harmful consequences of dystopia. It is the setting of dual conflicts: the suppression of the populaces and the target of rebellion. 

Our relationship with architecture is twofold: it reflects how we live whilst simultaneously it affects our behaviour and lifestyle.

Portrait 1 1
Portrait 2 1
The Future City

George Orwell’s 1984 describes a surveillance-fuelled future, while Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner (1982) paints Los Angeles in 2019 as an abandoned wasteland; forgotten and discarded. These works emphasise the repercussions of order changing to chaos, manifested by an unjust change in environment and social stratification. What are the reasons behind such configurations? Politics, technologies or wars? These circumstances may be the result of humankind flaws or the inevitable occurrences of the natural order. Architecture can be used to express the critical intersections between realities and fictions; to address and scrutinise the current trend of society in a similar fashion of authors and artists.

Portrait 3 1

By identifying the dystopian qualities of our current relationship with the built environment, this thesis envisages a future that subjugates people into an unjust hierarchical system. In doing so, dystopian characteristics are identified and expressed through a series of narratives informing the design. Time, verticality, technology and science fictions are developed into an imbalanced future that shifts between transience and permanency. Consequently, the design outcome alters the stability of a home and rethinks the segregatory organisation of contemporary cites. Lastly, this thesis illustrates the dystopia as unsustainable, and employs architecture as a medium to comment on the consequences off the widening gap between classes and their reliance upon each other.

Landscape 3
The Nomads - The Lower Class
Landscape 2
Nomadic Life
Landscape Render 2
The Upper Class
Landscape 1
The Lower Class - a life of constant movement