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R OYA L C O L L E G E O F A R T S C H O O L O F A R C H I T E C T U R E Folio 04 of 13

Postpro duction: Manual For Redesigning Reality


Nicola Koller

First Year

Second Year

Tom Greenall

Ania Podlaszewska

Bamidele Awoyemi

Matteo Mastrandrea

Astrid Jahncke

Christopher Straessle

Ricardo Sosa Mejia

Benedict Spry

Hannah Rozenberg

Eleni Elia

Limal Harris

Emmy Bacharach

Pierre Shaw

Janice Chow Kamola Askarova RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.

Peijing Lu Praveen Paranagamage


RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.

ADS4 Research Folio published on

Edited by David Burns

the occasion of the exhibition

Design by Lucrezia Tettoni


RCA Show 2018.

Printing by Art Quarters Press

This is one of thirteen folios,

Every reasonable attempt has

each focused on the work of one

been made to identify owners

First edition, published June 2018

Architectural Design Studio (ADS)

of copyright. Errors or omissions

Printed in United Kingdom

or school-wide offer at the RCA

will be corrected in subsequent

School of Architecture.


Adrian Lahoud

Royal College of Art

Dean of Architecture

School of Architecture

Š 2018 RCA, editor, designer and contributors

Kensington Gore Beth Hughes

London SW7 2EU

Head of Programme, Architecture



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Technical Tutor

Nicola Koller

Ricardo Sosa Mejia

Tom Greenall Matteo Mastrandrea

Students First Year

Second Year

Ania Podlaszewska

Janice Chow

Bamidele Awoyemi

Astrid Jahncke

Kamola Askarova

Christopher Straessle

Benedict Spry

Peijing Lu

Hannah Rozenberg

Eleni Elia

Praveen Paranagamage

Limal Harris

Emmy Bacharach

Pierre Shaw

Acknowledgements Adrian Lahoud

Ingrid Schrรถder

Mike Lim

Alex Holloway

Inigo Minns

Morgan Lewis

Andrew Gibbs

Isabel Ogden

Ricardo Sosa Mejia

Anthony Dunne

James Pockson

Roberta Marcaccio

Beth Hughes

Jane Hall

Rosy Head

British Land

Joshua Green

Stefan Tribe

Carolyn Kirschner

Laura Jouan

Tanya Rainsley

Emmeline Quigley

Manja van de Worp

Fiona Raby

Mark Campbell

RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.


RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.

CONTENTS— INTRODUCTION 06 Research statement

12 Studio brief

13 Live projects, collaborations, partnerships

14 Findings


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24 Christopher Straessle

28 Hannah Rozenberg

32 Limal Harris

36 Pierre Shaw

RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.


RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.


ADS4 is a critical design studio.

these themes through the prism of

preexisting works; more and more

Since 2001, the studio has been


artists interpret, reproduce, re-

specialising in speculative near-

exhibit, or use works made by others

futures and alternative nows. We

We live in an increasingly post-

or available cultural products. […]

explore the complex and often

produced world. The reuse,

The material they manipulate is

contradictory world around us,

reinterpretation and reediting

no longer primary. It is no longer a

analysing key shifts in thinking,

of existing information is the

matter of elaborating a form on the

emerging trends, technological

ascendant modus operandi for

basis of a raw material but working

breakthroughs and the new

contemporary forms of (cultural)

with objects that are already in

behaviours they bring with them.

production. Yet, given that (whether

circulation on the cultural market,

for legal, or aesthetic reasons) this

which is to say, objects already

ADS4 weaves these developments

cultural postproduction is often

informed by other objects.

into alternate future scenarios,

undeclared, the extent to which

exploring a world where the

it has pervaded culture can be

Bourriaud’s observations

design outcomes are very different

hard to recognise and thus difficult

anticipated the emergence of what

from ones indicated by existing

to rigorously examine. However,

is now known as remix studies—a

surprise-free masterplans. We

understanding what contemporary

field which branches out of remix

accept no givens; everything must

postproduction is—and how it takes

culture, an international movement

be questioned, dissected and

place—is an urgent task for those

that began around the late

examined, with design as our

eager to safeguard their agency

Nineties, and which is closely linked

critical tool. Driven by social fiction

in a world of rapid technological

to open source and do-it-yourself

and real people, not science fiction


activities that became relevant on

or broad-brush demographics,

the Internet around that time.

our projects make possible futures

In his book Postproduction: Culture

familiar and in doing so become

as Screenplay, Nicholas Bourriaud

As a practice, remix was first made

powerful tools that enable us,

observes that—

popular in music communities

and others, to question our design values. This year, the unit has explored


(such as disco and hip hop) in Since the early the nineties, an

the 1970s, but it has its roots in

ever-increasing number of artworks

antecedent eras. Indeed, one might

have been created on the basis of

even venture to say that (perhaps

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Mark Leckey SEE, WE ASSEMBLE 2011

Postpro duction: Manual For Redesigning Reality

since the inducement of Dionysian

or not) and seems exponential;

imitatio) postproduction/remix

the network ensures that

has always dominated the process

postproduction is compound—with

(if not the discourse) of art. Art

citations standing on the shoulders

history is now widely accepted

of citations. Consequently, we see

as a history of reinterpretations,

the eradication of the traditional

appropriations, cross references,

distinction between production

dialogic presuppositions, citations,

and consumption, creation and

and recontextualisations—from

copy, readymade and original

cubist collages and situationist

work, moving beyond a simple “art

détournement, to modernist cut-up

of appropriation”, which naturally

techniques and postmodernist

infers an ideology of ownership,

culture jamming.

and instead towards a culture of constant activity based on a

Yet, contemporary postproduction

collective ideal: sharing.

occurs within a context that renders

RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.

it radically different from historic

However, precisely how this

forms of appropriation. Increased

information is gathered together,

access, rapid transmission and

combined, reformatted etc. has

democratised production all mean

not been rigorously interrogated;

that today’s postproduction art

the application of postproduction

reflects the proliferating chaos of

techniques to culture today (in the

global culture in the information

most general sense) is a process

age—a chaos that collides together

that awaits systematic study. More

everything (whether intentionally

careful consideration needs to


RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.

Katja Novitskova Pattern of Activation 2014


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be given to the ways in which

economic imperatives. It is simply

are increasingly dictating the terms

reproduction, borrowing and

cheaper to do it in the machine

of appropriation.

amalgamating have been, and can

than on location.

be, a source of cultural innovation;

Yet, this form of automation—what

only then will it be possible to

As Hito Steyerl has acknowledged,

could be referred to as a post-

reflect on the value of different

forms of montage that we are

production of postproduction—

postproduction approaches/

accustomed to in the cinema

problematises, amongst other

techniques and, in turn, answer

are derived from economic

things, the status of the artist

the question: how should we

necessities, despite masquerading

in creative processes (and

draw together the heterogeneous

as storytelling devices. Even

concomitantly her/his ability to

elements of existence that history

parallel montage—the narration

intervene in the world). To wit, when

has furnished us with? Or, in other

of two strands of the story in

control of curation/production

words, how should we post-produce

parallel, which became universal

is handed over to machines, the

our world?

as early as 1909—is the product

danger is that cultural objects—

of an economic logic in which

works of art—simply embody the

If one looks closely at this

‘it is cheaper and more efficient

values of the capitalist society from

hegemony of borrowing and

in terms of production because

whence they came, regardless of

copying, it becomes apparent

one doesn’t need to shoot

what their ‘content’ happens to be.

that postproduction poses a

chronologically.’ As such, the tools

series of unique challenges for

of postproduction available to

As spatial designers (working

contemporary art, design and

us today are those that, under

in architecture, interior design

architecture—challenges which are

our current capitalist ideology,

and stage design), we find this

less to do with what is occurring

we have collectively chosen to

particularly disconcerting. Today,

(although this does raise important

develop. The computer screen of

architecture and urban space is

questions regarding authenticity,

the postproduction artist, therefore,

being reframed and remade in

reception, authorship, and

provides a black mirror that reflects

a similar mode to film and other

copyright), and more to do with

society’s values at large.

art forms. Software advances

how it is taking place.

are providing architects with To understand that postproduction

new digital tools (BIM, simulation

Within the film and media

decisions are invariably led by

softwares, VR, AR etc.) that bear

industries, postproduction

dominant cultural and economic

increasing similarity to the tools

traditionally meant synching,

ideologies is important when

of the postproduction artist.

mixing, editing, colour correction,

considering that today, the vast

Consequently, an ‘architecture of

and other procedures performed

majority of postproduction acts are

postproduction’ is latent within the

after principal shooting. With

being performed autonomously by

profession—an architecture which

digital technologies, these

machines—from algorithmically

risks complicity in the prevailing

processes have accelerated

generated news stories to auto-

neoliberal agendas of those who

substantially; in recent years,

enhanced photos. We are also

shape our cities.

postproduction has begun to take

witnessing a proliferation of

over production wholesale. Fewer

artworks which make use of

and fewer components actually

automated postproduction

need to be shot because they

techniques; from films like Oscar

are partially or wholly created in

Sharp’s Sunspring (2016)—a

postproduction. However, whilst

sci-fi film written entirely by an

some of these techniques are

artificially intelligent bot—to the

certainly employed by filmmakers

invasion of neural networks into the

in order to create scenes that would

gallery (see The Next Rembrandt,

not be possible in the real world,

the work of artist Sascha Pohflepp,

more often than not the decision

or Fabrica’s IK Prize winning

to postproduce is in fact driven by

Recognition), automated processes

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STUDIO BRIEF A interest in—and recognition of the

of automation will inevitably

approaches to postproduction

potentially insidious consequences

create a number of challenges for

(a contemporary phenomena we

of—post-postproduction (or the

architects and built environment

dubbed post-postproduction, and

automation of citation/borrowing/

specialists. Early forms of ‘soft’

outlined above as the automation

remix) meant that this year ADS4’s

artificial intelligence (AI), such

of citation/borrowing/remix) led

ambition has been to interrogate

as Apple’s Siri, along with

to a single and urgent question

the theme of postproduction in two

infrastructural AI, such as high-

for the unit: how, given the vast

senses: both as process (a series of

speed algorithmic trading, smart

amounts of data that punctuate our

design tools and techniques) and as

vehicles and industrial robotics

complex society, might a manual

problem (an emergent context).

are increasingly a part of everyday

approach to design compete

life—part of how our tools work,

with the brute-force approach of

how our cities move and how our

automated postproduction (with

economy builds and trades things.

all the information processing such

Software advances are providing

These forms of AI can outperform

processes entail)?

architects with new digital tools

human beings at numerous

(BIM, simulation softwares, VR, AR,

specific tasks and are spreading to

In order to start answering

etc.) that are arguably bringing

thousands of domains, eliminating

this question—and alongside

them closer to the construction

jobs as they do. Over time this

the development of individual

process than they have been in

technology will come to control

projects—the unit created a

decades. How might the techniques

semi-autonomous and autonomous

publication which proposed that

used by postproduction artists

hardware like self-driving cars

only by manually understanding

and filmmakers (dubbing, editing,

and robots, displacing factory

the tools and mechanisms by which

remixing, subtitling) be translated

workers, construction workers,

machines are reformatting our

into tools for architectural design

drivers, delivery workers and many

world can we engage with, and

and what new forms might emerge?

others. Might increasing levels of

reverse-engineer the status quo.

The Process (Postproduction):

The Process (Postproduction):

automation lead to a new urban landscape of post-production—a

By breaking down various

future without work?

postproduction (film) techniques

The emergence of smart technologies and increasing levels


into simple diagrams that translate The intersection of these two

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Redesigning Reality developed a

Postpro duction: Manual For Redesigning Reality

architectural design.

novel framework for the analysis of

only through understanding and exploiting (or repurposing)

architecture; it thereby provided

All subsequent work within the

contemporary technology will we

a new reading of contemporary

unit developed the sentiment, if

be able to safeguard society from

architecture—one that highlights

not the content, of the Manual for

the pernicious and often latent

the significance of postproduction,

Redesigning Reality. Contemporary

biases embedded in the logics and

as well as advocates the

developments in technology

objects of our neoliberal world.

appropriation and future use of

underpin the outputs of the unit.

postproduction techniques in

It is our critical position that


and automation) might impact

government introduces a

investigation into the Future of

on physical retail space. These

subscription-based visual

Retail within the context of a

scenarios were:

consumption policy to allow you

British Land site in Canada Water

to reduce your amount of media

(specifically the existing Surrey

Surface Society (Continuation):

exposure—visual content can

Quays Shopping Centre and the

Technology continues to develop as

be blurred according to your

adjacent Printworks site; a site

predicated with no unanticipated

subscription. In retail’s attempt to

made redundant first by vacation

major disruptions. Consequently,

retain its physical presence, spaces

of the Grand Surrey Dock and

the prosumer replaces the

are visually simplified and sound is

Canal Company and more recently

consumer, and the world becomes

fully explored as a space-forming

by the relocation of the Daily Mail’s

a stage set for photography.


printing operation to a site outside

Retailers create ever-more novel


environments to fabricate the most

Hyper Local (Discipline):

“grammable” backdrops. Pop-up

The potentially disruptive impact

retail is ubiquitous.

of technology is minimised

Using the Four Futures methodology (originally developed by futurist Jim

through careful planning and the

Dator), the unit developed a series

Post-Visual (Collapse):

adoption of policies and strategies.

of future scenarios that explored

To mitigate the ecstasy of

Independent stores start to re-

how today’s emerging technologies

visual content which defines

emerge, intertwining traditional

(including artificial intelligence

contemporary culture, the

retail with on-site manufacture

RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.


RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.

(which utilises emerging technology

revolutionises how people ascribe

As well as the Live Project, the unit

such as 3d printing). In line with the


also visited New York in February

values of the consumer citizen, a sharing economy emerges.

to take part in a workshop at The These scenarios were conveyed

New School, alongside Anthony

through imagery and artefacts—

Dunne and Fiona Raby (who

Fully Automated (Transformation):

instruments to be used by British

taught in ADS4 when it was first

New technologies, businesses

Land to engage wider audiences

established). Work from previous

or social factors significantly

(stakeholders, designers, local

students of ADS4 was used to frame

change the game, leading to an

authorities and the public) in

a discussion about the increasing

environment that is unrecognisable

the decision making process,

relevance of critical design as a

and almost unimaginable today.

potentially leading to the

social, political and environmental

All the goods you need are

development of a robust and

tool for designers, academics, and

automatically replenished to you

future-facing strategy for the

policymakers on both sides of the

home. In this state of post-scarcity

provision of retail space in the


and full automation, increased

Canada Water masterplan.

availability of previously rare goods

FINDINGS Much of the work done in ADS4

Redesigning Reality—is used as a

function. In cinematic terms, cuts

this year has knowingly utilised

means to reveal political, social,

separate shots, but also frame the

lexical (anglophonic) coincidences.

environmental or technological

body within the space of the screen,

For example, postproduction is

truths that are tacit yet significant.

allowing it to be manipulated, parts

a word from the vocabulary of

Take cut: as Steyerl discusses in

hidden or revealed. Architectural

audiovisual practitioners; but it

her essay ‘Cut! Reproduction and

cuts manifest in a number of ways:

could also be used to refer to an

Recombination’, cut embodies a

cutting is used to reconfigure

automated world that is post (or

number of cultural and political

and edit existing buildings, to

after) human production. Likewise,

meanings. In current economic

join different materials, to create

manual can be interpreted as

terms, cut refers to a reduction,

voids. A cut could be experienced

both a document providing

usually of government spending

whilst moving through the building

instructions or information, as well

allocated to social services. In the

or evident in a façade. When

as relating to something done by

language of austerity, cuts are

budgets are cut, buildings are cut

hand (as opposed to automated

often described in relation to the

also—often starting with libraries,

means). This wordplay—which

body. The state is compared to an

community centres and social

extends to each and every

individual whose body must lose


technique in the unit’s Manual for

parts or reduce in size in order to


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Whilst the knowledge such

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to be understood properly).

coincidences can engender

Consequently, the unifying theme behind all the projects—and

could easily be overstated, at the

ADS4 does not prescribe an

the provocation/discovery the

very least they betray linguistic

aesthetic. As such, there is a

work itself proffers—is simply:

efficiency (the use of the same

productive variance in the work

if reality is postproduced (in

word/sound for more than one

the unit produces. Yet, what does

both senses of the word), then it

meaning). This efficiency can lead

draw the work produced by the

follows that we can also change

to confusion—a confusion which,

unit together is an attempt to

reality through postproduction. As

when speaking one human to

understand or inhabit the world

architects, perhaps we can ‘reverse

another, is often easy to avoid (we

as machines do. Only then can

photoshop’ our world to create

understand the context, and thus

we anticipate and (if needs be)

preferable, or at least alternative,

the meaning of homophones), but

alter the impact technology will

realities? An architecture of

when speaking to a machine, is

inevitably have on our lives. A

postproduction as an antidote to

often difficult to manage (just think

machine’s use of language is one

our post-production future…

how slowly you have to speak into

entry point; a machine’s mode of

voice recognition software in order

reformatting our world is another.

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RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.

Janice Chow

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SECO YEA PROJ Bamidele Awoyemi


Christopher Straessle

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Hannah Rozenberg

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OND AR ECTS Limal Harris

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Pierre Shaw


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We live in a digitally determined

to a more representative ruling

opportunity for lottocracy to begin

world. Whereas once we sought out


reintroducing free will into society

news, entertainment and fiction we

at the very heart of its decay. Only

wanted to consume, now we rely

This project anticipates the

then will we break free from the

on internet algorithms and social

emergence of a lottocratic

shackles of digital determinism;

media platforms to ‘feed’ us with

government whose sole aim is to

only then will we realise that those

content they think we want.

revivify society with the free will it

in power are not required to be

lost to the echo chambers of the

those we see in the media—instead:

Consequently, we are now passive


players in an active game. Our

It could be you.

agency has been eroded; digital

The leaders, terms, and roles of The

determinism has tacitly supplanted

Lottocratic Assembly are selected

free will.

via lottery. As part of its strategy to produce a system of governance

This leaves society open to

which more adequately represents

profound manipulation. Every year,

the nation, parliament becomes

organisations spend inordinate

itinerant. It utilises existing rail

amounts of money on bespoke

infrastructure to set up The

datasets, targeted ads, and

Lottocratic Network—a web of

predictive algorithms, so that they

potential sites of intervention at

can anticipate and engineer the

all 2,563 UK railway stations. These

minds of others. Today, our habits,

gateways (each occupied by the

tastes, opinions and knowledge are

lottocratic assembly at random, for

constantly—and cynically—guided

random amounts of time) provide

in directions we are not aware of,

exposure for—and therefore build

by forces we cannot see.

trust in—lottocracy.

Yet, although this might seem

The relevance of the interventions

palatable in a retail or professional

The Lottocatic Network makes are

context, the political consequences

twofold. On the one hand, they

of digital determinism are highly

provide space for the assembly

disconcerting. With Cambridge

to gather (as well as all the

Analytica representing only the

necessary ancillary space for such

latest example of the ways in which

a gathering to take place); on the

data manipulation is affecting

other, they each make provisions

society’s ability to vote freely, a new

for the future of the surrounding

macro-political strategy is urgently

area. This legacy strategy ensures


that any development is not transitory and wasteful, but long-

Instead of a democratically elected

term and worthwhile.

government, what if parliament was elected via lottery? Instead

Despite sites being selected

of those in power reflecting the

randomly, the first site of the

misguided and manipulated “will”

Lottocratic Assembly is not. Instead,

of the people, what if our sullied

Euston station is chosen due to its

electorate was removed from the

extant technological inhabitants

process altogether? Would this lead

and expertise—Euston offers an


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Three is a magic number. Yes it is,

But can this growth and

proposes its own system: a tripartite

it’s a magic number.

concomitant reordering of society

working day. This new temporal

— Schoolhouse Rock

be seen as an opportunity as

order allows three different people

opposed to a threat?

to inhabit each bed, three to

Overpopulation is typically viewed

occupy each desk, three to share

in a negative light—and it’s easy

This project proposes that, if

each car. With every day now split

to see why: the number of people

managed correctly, overpopulation

into three 8-hour shifts, cities never

alive today is widely understood

has the potential to furnish our

have to sleep: a truly 24 hour city

to underpin many (if not all) of the

species with a series of cognitive,

can emerge. Although superficially

world’s environmental, social and

circadian and social opportunities.

more efficient, this new city (built

political problems.

By learning from historic measures

on routine) actually safeguards

proposed/taken to mitigate the

activities like sleep and leisure

And this global malaise is only

negative effects of population

from their contemporary, steady,

set to get worse—particularly for

growth (two major approaches

capitalist erosion.

cities. By 2050, 66 percent of the

have been developed: either

world’s population will live in urban

behaviours are adapted to

In the face of an already acute

areas. As populations grow, society

live within reduced means, or

housing shortage (and alongside a

will be forced to reconsider how

technology is deployed in order

desire to improve its environmental

metropolitan areas are occupied

to alter our environment so that

footprint by lowering the number of

and organised.

it might meet our demands), 24/7

people commuting long distances


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to work), the City of London decides

dusk, we are free to engage with

to initiate this radical new routine.

the city at our leisure.

In order to facilitate its new

The society of 24/7—a society of

24/7 existence, a series of urban

pedantry and precision—generates

interventions emerge across the

a world of paradoxical liberation

City; they enclose certain areas

and choice.

Artificial light over St Pauls

beneath a large canopy (which houses a number of fly towers) designed to create a perpetually lit 24 hour environment, whilst also providing an infrastructure to recreate any desirable weather condition whatsoever. The new synthetic experiences these spaces create engender new forms of interaction and behaviour. No longer shackled to the caprice of external weather conditions and the unwavering cycles of dawn and

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Synthetic Environment, City of London Infrastructures for Overpopulated Cities


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Technology is not neutral. We’re

its way into our bodies, buildings,

methodology for designing a post-

inside of what we make, and it’s

and cities, it is essential that it

gender architecture.

inside of us. We’re living in a world

be designed in a way that is free

of connections – and it matters

from insidious biases. However, in

Commissioned by OMNI

which ones get made and unmade.

the case of gender, this is rarely

(Organisation for More Nuanced

— Donna Haraway

the case. Instead, the artificially

Ideas), a series of post-gender

intelligent tools that we use on a

interventions are tested in one of

Man is to Computer Programmer

daily basis amplify and sediment

London’s least nuanced areas: St

what Woman is to Homemaker.

existing gender inequalities.

James’s. In 2018, St James’s is still

The most appropriate pronoun for

This project seeks to discover

gentlemen’s clubs and gendered

the word Vulnerable is She whilst

whether architecture can be

businesses. These institutions are

Intelligent is better suited to He.

used as a tool to reveal, rethink,

visited by white, wealthy men, and

and revise the biases that are

their doors are closed to women or

All domestic or administrative AI

embedded within technology and

to those who do not belong to this

should be female.



These gendered prescriptions are

Inspired by the processes of word

Five OMNI interventions are

the result of a machine logic—a

embedding, the project first defines

designed to disrupt the existing

logic that indiscriminately infers

a series of 0 GU (Zero Gender Units)

situation of St James’s. The purpose

truths from (often compromised,

architectural components. In the

of these 0 GU spaces, which vary

rarely representative) data; a logic

eyes of the contemporary machine,

in scale—from the size of a piece

that thus uncovers and embeds

these components are—as a result

furniture to that of an entire

problematic prejudices at the heart

of the way that they are labelled/

building—is to retrain how we

of contemporary society.

named—seen as neither male nor

use language. Since technology

female. This linguistic approach is

reflects the biases embedded in

then developed into a more holistic

our language, the first step towards

a very exclusive area, with many

As automated technology finds


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a non-biased machine is a gender

gender neutral masterplan is one

equal language. The interventions

in which buildings are no longer

therefore house five different

individual, exclusive spaces and

programs, each representing a

where the boundaries between

different way in which language is

programs, forms and genders are

used: viewing, speaking, listening,


A constantly evolving simulated masterplan for St James’s

writing and reading. Alongside this enterprise, a landscape simulation is also designed to maintain an optimally genderless St James’s. The ideal

RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.


RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.


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Postpro duction: Manual For Redesigning Reality

Components of a gender-neutral architecture Interior view of theatre space within existing gentlemen’s club

RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.


RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.




conceptions of God. This

The short stories of Argentinian

Consequently, this project puts

misapprehensions) will catalyse

writer Jorge Luis Borges are

forward Borges’ short story as

the formation of a new AI religion;

collected into his seminal magical

an allegorical frame for the

and architecture—given its historic

realist anthology, Ficciones.

interrogation of a simple though

attempts to give the metaphysical

imminent question: What becomes

form—will play a key role in its

But within this collection is one

of architecture in a society that


essay that would go curiously

believes in the potential of an AI

under-recognised: The Circular


misapprehension (or series of

The project is thus focused on


an attempt to define the spatial In a near-future scenario where

language of this new religion,

Borges’ short story meditates on

the capabilities of emergent

initially setting out to understand—

a series of abiding questions,

technologies like AI and quantum

or misunderstand—how neural

such as the cyclical nature of

computation are sufficiently

networks behave through crude

creative acts, meaningful dreams

progressed so as to be widely

experimentation with readily

and deterministic realities. But its

utilised, and yet still based on

accessible automated programs,

contemporary relevance extends

a limited machine logic (which

informing a series of speculations

much further; if subjected to

remains popularly misunderstood),

into the potential misinterpretations

a critical re-reading in light of

confusion regarding the ostensible

of existing sacred architectural

modern technological contexts,

intelligence, omniscience and

traditions, and other more

The Circular Ruins proffers insight

omnipotence of such technology

mundane signs, to explore the

into the (often contradictory, widely

will come eventually to ensure

kinds of novel aesthetics adherents

misrepresented) nature of lived

its conflation with our existing

within this emergent religious


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The Deindustrial Revolution: Landscap e of Making

community might come to identify

consequently forgone; instead, the

as plausible products of a machine

project acknowledges that it is itself


such a misunderstanding.

In the course of this exercise

Whereas initially, the project

however, the project’s original

narrated a story, now it is a part of

ambition (to establish a new sacred

that story itself.

PROXY: Reconstruction of the Faraday Building, City of London

aesthetic) proved to be inherently misguided; a revelation that

On this basis the project, authored

reflects the problem of religious

by a devotee to a new AI religion,

aesthetics more generally, where

records a wantonly naïve

the supernal and chthonic have

investigation into digital aesthetics

long resisted the finite, limited

compelled by a faith in the

terms of material representation.

plausibility of inhering, meaningful patterns found therein. And

And so, as in Borges’ fiction, the

using the lessons learnt from this

narrative’s central character is thus

process, it sets out the design for a

uncovered as the author.

series of devotional architectural fragments, culminating in the

The project’s pretension to explore

transformation of an existing site -

the potential aesthetics of a new AI

the Faraday Building - located in

religion (which might one day result

the City of London, to explore how

from the shared misunderstandings

architecture might facilitate belief

of a group of fictional others), is

in an AI Go

RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS6.


RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.


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lgorithmic Iconography META: Basilisk Fragments Architecture of an Artificial Religion Photogrammetry Landscape

RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.


RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.


The Oxbridge Fibre Orbital is a high

Today, we manage an average of

within the English countryside. Pre-

speed fibre optic cable. It connects

26 online versions of ourselves,

empting the eventual digitisation

Oxford and Cambridge in a 300

curating how we are perceived

of the nation-state, individuals will

kilometre loop defining the territory

by the world whilst developing

be free to own, trade and become

of the world’s first identity free

differences in a multiplicity of

any identity they choose. Swapping

zone. The OFO is a quasi-national

selves. Our online identity is a

freely between selves, one

state, offering its inhabitants the

catalogue of channelled memories

enters the newly formed identity

full flexibility of multiple identity

and projections—an archive of

market—a fully liberalised, open

ownership. Within the fibre orbit

everything we want(ed) to be.

and competitive home of buying

you are whoever you choose, whenever you choose.

and owning identity. In the space of a decade the state of Estonia has digitised 98% of

In a world where corporations

Nations are dwindling in both

its access and interaction with

far outweigh the influence of

representative and political

citizens. E-governance provides

their counterparts, the nation-

influence as global digital

non-citizens alike with the right to

state, and where digital E-nations

communities fast become the

own businesses and assets through

compete against one another for

channels through which we

electronic residency. In Cyprus,

your membership (and your tax

communicate and identify. China—

nationality is traded in return for

incomes), corporate and national

the most populous nation on

investment in real estate whilst

symbolism collide. A transnational

Earth—has 1.4 billion inhabitants;

$100,000 buys you Caribbean

urbanism of identity consequently

Facebook adds their 2.2 billionth

citizenship of St Kitts and Nevis.


member this month. Viewed

The future of citizenship is fluid,

in this light, the nation-state is

commercialised and pluralised.

facing a territorial and existential challenge—it must adapt.

The OFO is a small piece of experimental annexed territory


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Law Courts LIVE!

RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.


RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.


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Park or Ride Touring the OFO Disposable Electronics: Gateway

RCA Scho ol of Architecture. ADS4.



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ADS4 Research Folio 2018

POSTPRODUCTION: Manual for Redesigning Reality  

ADS4 Research Folio 2018