Design Studies 5A: Complete Symbiotic Reliance
City X: A New Epoch
In semester one of this thesis project, my fellow studio partner Sean Craig and I produced an architectural design competition brief asking ourselves to create our own provocations of a future, fictional civilisation with a close symbiotic relationship with artificial intelligence. Through this, we sought to investigate how the chosen technology will manifest in society and, in turn, the subsequent realities of the people, the architecture, the city and the technology itself.
In a future, post-independent Scotland, the country has found itself in an economic boom of opportunity. In order to sustain an independent country, whilst embracing its long history of inventiveness and creativity, the government has capitalised on the market of emerging Artificial Intelligent technologies. However, as Scotland continues to grow exponentially through its self-governance, social issues such as overpopulation in the central belt begin to arise. To alleviate the strain of the over-populated areas, the Scottish government proposed ambitious population redistribution strategies, encouraging counter-urbanisation through the migration of citizens towards more rural areas such as the Highlands and Islands. By creating new focal points for population redistribution, the opportunity arose to provide urban testing grounds for the new and innovative AI technologies. One of the most unique New Scottish ‘New Towns’ is nestled on the rugged Inner Hebridean Island of Eigg named: City X.
Arguably the most thriving settlement of the New Scottish ‘New Towns’, City X’s citizens live in a state of technologically automated post-scarcity where advancements in Artificial Intelligence control all necessary work and labour requirements. Here, the everyday formal constraints of what we perceive as ‘time’ has become irrelevant as with no labour constraints, the anxiety of the clock is eluded. With this level of lifestyle freedom, the residents have boundless opportunity to reflect, contemplate, better themselves, become one with nature and converse with other residents within the unique built environment of the island.
Overpopulation of Scotland's central belt
Represented in comic book form, a fictional narrative of a future Scottish central belt is created. Here, the urban density has evolved into a conjoined megacity that covers the whole central belt area. Issues such as overcrowding and overpopulation have arisen, leading the government to develop population redistribution strategies.
The Scottish government proposed new Scottish new towns located on the highlands and islands to deal with the overpopulated central belt. One of these site locations is on the Inner Hebridean Isle of Eigg.
City X: Masterplan
City X consists of a linear, continuous route that facilitates the post-scarcity society into an intense space for self-learning, contemplation, reflection and the arts. It can be used as a means of travel throughout the island whilst also facilitating and consuming the needs of the culture. This creates a journey of experiences that aims to re-sensitise the citizens to the surroundings, leading ultimately to a realignment with nature.
Kinetic and Adaptive Spaces
We need to accommodate the constant change in society through technology, user needs and the way we live. Therefore, the external form remains as a permanent but the internal spaces will be in constant flux through the use of kinetic partitions and smart furniture. Through the arrival process, the AI can develop algorithms of each citizen and distinguish how they will like to enjoy their time and what activities they want to partake in, and in turn transport and create those spaces using these forms of kinetic and evolving architecture. This image shows the lower level on the circuit which is being used as a continuous art gallery.
A Place for Learning
On the lower level of the structure, small and intimate spaces are produced for the citizens to use as areas for reading, reflecting and conversing whilst enjoying elements of biohpilic design with a connection to nature.
The central focal point and meeting space of City X: The forum. This hand drawn image shows a view westward from the islands main public space towards the Isle of Rum.
Perhaps what is most interesting is where the infrastructure intersect with the island’s topography, especially the mountainous areas. In this specific area to the north of the island the machines have carved out large, volumetric, atmospheric spaces that inspire the citizens to contemplate and become one with their minds within the atmospheric spaces provided. The vertical elements of the infrastructure control the kinetic architecture whereas the human infrastructure is horizontal.