Design Fictions of the Future

Architecture UG4 Studio / Spring 2020 / Sandhya Kochar and Dow Kimbrell

Design Fictions whether in the form of utopian or dystopian experiments deals with the imagination and materialization of possible futures. One can ask what is the role of fiction in these possible futures? Often speculative, these utopian or dystopian projects have remained in the realm of imagination but have had an enduring effect on our disciplinary understanding and knowledge. The seminar explored questions of the future as a systematic understanding of disciplinary knowledge and design in architecture, thereby examining a historiography of how ideas of future are shaped and formed. The aim of the seminar was two- fold: to give students a foundation of architectural theories and design methods; and to provide a critical survey of the historiography and history of ideas of the future. The seminar dealt with ideas of future ranging from products, pods, cities to urbanisms.

Speculative architects mostly create narratives about social, environmental, political and technological issues to see and test how these influences shape our thinking of space, culture and future societies. Our studio attempts to imagine new forms of agency within these territories. Design fictions are embedded with a whole lot of experimentation to construct images of future realities or opportunities in contrast to present realities. These experimentations can serve a range of territories:

  1. Trying out ideas about how to shape the future into a preferred state
  2. Criticizing existing systems, technology, design ideologies, etc.
  3. As a catalyst to promote change
  4. To project based on evidence and amplify the direction such trends are taking

Our studio’s output is speculative, projective and open-ended in its possibilities. Students proposals range from experimenting with the near and far futures

Faculty