WHAT IF CIVILIZATION
WERE GIVEN A SECOND CHANCE?
5thYear // Academic
CJ Lim // Simon Dickens
Instead of shepherds in idyllic visions of arcadian pastoralism and unspoiled wilderness, the project finds WALL-E (and later EVE) in a hypothetical near-future urban scenario where humans seek refuge in outer space after ignoring all signs of climate change, leaving cities in a state of consumerism wasteland filled with trash and extinction of plant life. Inspired by the 2008 animated sci-fi film, the project is a cautionary tale.
Programmed with resilient urban, architectural and construction knowledge, WALL-E and his technological ‘posses’ execute a blueprint of three phases to restore life on Earth – Phase 1 – 100 years; Phase 2 – 600 years; Phase 3 – 100 years, and Manhattan is the case-study to develop and investigate pertinent and sustainable architectural challenges through symbolism and motifs. For example, Wall-E adopted the “cat” as the symbol of “longevity” for the city.
Phase 1: The Downfall of New York
This phase will incorporate the fictional scenario of future environmental degradation inspired by Wall-E through research on past and current events. Wall-E will also set out the groundwork inspired by the ‘Eye of Providence’ on the USA dollar note symbolising of faith watching over humanity and the beginning of the New American Era.
Phase 2: Remediating New York
Phase 2 will investigate the potential methods of healing the Earth through architectural geoengineering tectonics and how waste could be reuse as a viable construction material.
Phase 3: Rebooting New York
The final phase will reconstruct the speculative landscape after 7 centuries, displaying methods of re-inhabiting the planet and restarting civilisation. Materials and construction techniques will also be explored in order to create a resilient and sustainable future.
The speculative scenario does not promise ‘happy-ever-after’ when a clean planet is handed back to humans but aims to bring awareness, decelerate our current fast-paced society and embrace climate change as a resource.
If civilization were given a second chance, how could environmental and spatial resilience influence transformations of undesirable wasteland into arcadia? What sort of society would we want; and how does nurturing nature and environmental responsibilities help recalibrate our personal priorities? By learning from history and developing an innovative commentary on the crisis of present day, speculative urbanism and architecture can initiate the reboot process that embraces climate degradation, resources shortage, and the idiosyncrasies of human. With a little help from technology, the vision of arcadia is redefined.
Location: Manhattan Island
Timeline: 2100AD – 2800AD
Protagonists / Users: Wall-E, EVE, Bodega Cats and the “New” New-Yorkers