A Thousand Plateaus
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.