Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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A Thousand Plateaus

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posted on 2022-09-25, 08:41 authored by Weir, Michael

Scientists theorise that we now exist in theAnthropocene—an era when humanity hassuch an influence on the earth that the geologicaland ecological repercussions will be detectableindefinitely into the future. Microplastics,nuclear waste, industrial carbon, and otheranthropogenic waste products have createda new stratum that envelops the surfaceof the earth. Anthropogenic interference innatural systems has offset the stability of ourbiosphere. Ecological destabilisation is omnipresentwith anthropogenic climate change,among other symptoms, threatening to bringabout a Sixth Mass Extinction. The planetaryscale of the Anthropocene confronts humanitywith a unique challenge — designing for thefuture at a temporal scale appropriate for ageological epoch, not the egocentric time scaleof a human. The planetary scale impact of theAnthropocene infers a planetary responsibilitythat falls upon humanity — and the speculativearchitect.

This thesis proposes the exploration of a speculativearchitectural future world that acknowledgesthe ever-transforming conditions of theAnthropocene. The speculative architecturaloutcomes represent a shift away from anthropocentricthinking, acknowledging the ubiquitouspresence of non-humans in the builtenvironment through architectural artefactsthat are self-determined participants of anever-expanding system — reclaiming non-humaninfluence over the flow of anthropogenicwaste.

This design-led thesis’s allegorical investigationuses Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s AThousand Plateaus as a literary provocateur.

Deleuze and Guattari advocate for design asa primary tool to achieve their vision of a ‘newearth’. The principal aim of this architecturaldesign investigation is to examine how computationalsimulation processes and iterativeexperimentation can propagate architecturalartefacts that invoke a shift in thinking awayfrom anthropocentrism. The principal researchobjectives are to investigate how philosophical,ecological, and systematic approaches can bereconfigured into an integrated framework toachieve this aim.

As a Philosophical Approach, the artefactsengender Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of‘rhizomatic’ thinking, where systems representnomadic growth with no clear beginning or end.

As an Ecological Approach, the artefactsaddress ecological imbalance by constructingthemselves out of the very anthropogenicwaste products that threaten the stability ofour biosphere.

As a Systematic Approach, the artefacts representparts of a much wider, planetary scalesystem that systematically transforms inresponse to continually changing conditions.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (Professional)

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

189999 Other environmental management not elsewhere classified

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

4 Experimental research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Wellington School of Architecture


Brown, Daniel