Department (e.g. History, Chemistry, Finance, etc.)
College (e.g. College of Engineering, College of Arts & Sciences, Haslam College of Business, etc.)
Architecture & Design
In anticipation of the impending results of a world affected by climate change, architecture is now more than ever positioned to leverage its unique influence, communication, and power to fight problems that the world cannot see. Every day we turn a lamp on, start a car, or make a pot of coffee, we are engaging into a complex system of interacting with the world’s natural resources: fossil fuels. The United Nations, as of 2019, predicts we have but twelve years at most until climate change is irreversible. As the world runs out of time to cool down, global traumatic incidents such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes expose a brittle system of energy infrastructure all over the world- the resiliency of how we generate the energy we use is being scrutinized. Climate change is the ultimate global problem- so when our national systems of energy are restructured, readapted, and reorganized into new urban frameworks focused on multifunction, what happens to an urban future poised for sustainability instead of waste and excess?
Mason White and Lola Sheppard of Lateral Office write that “infrastructures are in fact ecologies, or natural systems artificially supplemented.” Taking a speculative urbanism approach in exploration of the various forms and flows of infrastructure and its relationship to architecture, Terra Incognita creates a future of oil field inhabitation with LOCUS (Large Operative Clean Up System) Corporation in a world where coastal Los Angeles is no longer predicted to be inhabitable due to rising sea levels. LOCUS Missions celebrate new apparatuses for reclaiming the hinterlands from oil extraction.
This thesis questions the role of current energy territorialization within Kern County, California, and provokes the 21st century energy transition and utopian playground of infrastructural ecology. The research addresses the environmental traumas related to petroleum and natural gas extraction in Kern County and its dynamic relationship with territory and urbanism through a series of provoking cartographic explorations, urban narratives, and computational speculations for a post carbon future. By questioning the role of systems thinking in large scale problems such as climate change, questions of design autonomy are raised in a world of where we might often neglect to study the systems, the “hidden substrate”, that are right under it. Through leveraging speculative urbanism and representational tactics, the research seeks to posit landscapes of energy as ones that are inherently connected to the growth and development of 21st century cities while also questioning the difference between how energy is currently utilized versus how energy ought to be utilized.