18:00 SAST

18:00  SAST

Urban Cyborgs

The Story of Shroomfontein

Nadia Laubscher

MArch 2022

Unit Leader: Dickson Adu-Agyei
Unit Tutor: Veronica Chipwanya
Unit Assistant: Demi Bridgland

Spectres of the Frame
Gene editing has the ability to question the agency and narrative of our identity as human beings in a similar way as dreams do. This technology, named CRISPR, raises questions about what the urban landscape of future Johannesburg look like for a genetically divided society and how can architecture be used to enhance or cure a community or a decaying urban landscape?

What happens if organic materials can be used in the construction process of future architecture and can be genetically modified to ‘grow’ a certain height, length or strength? How do we architecturally differentiate between ‘enhancing’ or ‘curing’ a space?

Gene editing is an inevitable fact of the future and I used storytelling as a method of representing and communicating possible ideas of how this technology may influence materials such as mycelium for future architecture if it is to be genetically engineered. Imaginative and Surrealistic representation can be used as a way to represent future urban architecture and to transport the viewer to a specific narrative as dreams represent our fears and can become a form of cautioning against future events. Dreams also have the ability to question agency whilst acting as a warning for the audience about what your future could become.

As architects I believe that it is extremely important to look at these inevitable future technologies being implemented for humans as it will influence the genetic make-up of future cities forever and how we approach sustainability. It is important to predict and be speculative in the architectural design process of what gene editing may mean for future architecture, especially for a city like Johannesburg which has a cultural diversity, a history of discrimination and unequal healthcare.

Storytelling, CRISPR, Gene-editing, Future Construction Materials, Sustainability, Speculation, Surrealism, Mycelium, Mushroom, Urban Design, Braamfontein, Decay, Ruins, Imaginative Representation, Organic Architecture, Cinematic Renderings, Subconscious, Ava X1

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