Logan Miller /// Nov. 22, 2021 /// Portfolio Vol. 1
Future Histories is a narrative driven project that seeks to understand the basic emotional desires of humankind, and how memories and relationships can alter the experience of a designed space. The project itself is an estranged motel located in the Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America. The opportunity to fabricate a cliche form of architecture, in an extreme and resource deprived site, instilled a new way of thinking that propelled efficiency and ratiocinative thinking to the forefront.
The structure itself is heavily influenced through the surrounding context of Death Valley, as well as other Sci-fi novels and films that had a substantial impact on the studio, such as DUNE. This project, Future Histories, is built on a foundation of intense research and personalized experiences. The role of technology, and futuristic architectural systems, take centerstage due to the narrative of Future Histories being set in the near future, 2117. The relationship between automatons and humanity is deeply explored, questioning to what extent a space needs to be tainted by the touch of flesh.
Aside from implementing new technologies and machines into a barren landscape, Future Histories was manifested in order to further examine the role of the architect in the future of design and space. Exploration into significant historical precedents and works of literature such as Archigram's Walking Cities, Bjarke Ingles work, Tafoni Structures, Simonsen and Nealy's Spherical Model, Robert Rauscheberg's Apollo Sapce Suit Iteration, and Jimenez Lai's Obsession Accelerator all played a critical role in establishing a direction for the project. The Guide to Future Histories is the recommended companion while reviewing the rest of the work displayed on the website.
Future Histories began as a collection of images and words, a forerunner for what would develop into a painted narrative. The Trope Index is subdivided into nine different forms and images alike, each with three keywords that helped shape the literary framework of the project. This rudementary step in the design process was crucial in order to see success in the final product, each of the images and words were carefully selected, constructed, and crafted in order to establish a reliable source for the project to fall back on for inspiration and motivation.
2. Site and building analysis
Our 2021 Fall Studio took a trip to Las Vegas and Death Valley near the end of September. That trip had an immeasurable effect on the way that my design process would shift and alter in order to pay an appropriate level of respect to the surrounding site and context. The structure itself is massive, relative to the human scale, taking up 562,500 Square Feet (750' x 750'). However, in comparison to the vast and flat landscape of Badwater Basin, the architecture is a small oasis, a beacon of hope at the edge of the dry horizon.
Designing the program of a mega-structure as a motel was initially daunting, but the idea to limit the capacity to a few seldom pods (13), would prove to reduce how accessible the architecture would be to the majority of the public, as intended. The material used to construct the support systems, as well as the inhabitable spaces themselves, are all designed as being 3D printed. This promotes two ideas that are imperative to the nature of Future Histories. The first being that the motel is efficient in its use of the surrounding, or moreover lack thereof, resources, both in terms of the initial construction phase, as well as annual energy consumption costs. This second intention allows the architecture to become completely independent and autonomous itself. Fully embracing the role of the machine and technology, once again challenging the role of the architect in terms of designing a functional program.
The orthographical design of the sharp ended plinths are meant to appear daunting, and more importantly intentionally fabricated. The natural dunes located at the top of the structure are reflective of the famous patch of sand dunes several miles Northwest of motel's site. The stalagatite basins hanging from the dunes serve the purpose of acting as a water cistern for water collected naturally off of the architecture's mechanical system. The forest of columns amidst the two main plinths are designed to invoke a feeling of repetition and distress. Passively inviting any guests to either enter into their nearby pod or find their way on top of the architectural system where the dunes reside.
3. The Narrative
Interior Pod Perspective (2042)
Interior Pod Perspective (2117)
Exterior Pod Perspective (2042)
Seven Letters Perspective (2117)
The Watch Perspective (2042)
Lonely Pursuit Perspective (2117)
The narrative is the focal point of this project, allowing the reader to substitute the personalized experiences described in the text with their own. The Future Histories Script is everything that this story desires to be, and nothing else. The scarce moments that are depicted visually were chosen to give a framework for the ideas and emotions that are being discussed, but are in every way ancillary, not to be confused as a substitute for the literature.
4. The machine
The role of the machine in the future of architecture is undecided, yet promising and dangerous. The depiction of nine different automatons in the trope of Machine Diagrams begins to breathe life into the apathetic side of the design, allowing for a timeless relationship to be established between the built space and several generations of guests. The machine accomplishes its goal of influencing the future by being present in the scene, nothing more and nothing less. An additive visual component that has the potential to spread intrigue and hope through the lack of information surrounding each of the prototypes.
The entire project is dipped in this philosophy. Future Histories was created in order to explore the depth by which human emotions can intersect throughout time. The lack of precision in the narrative, as well as the vast open space of the site and architecture itself establishes a sense of yearning from the reader. The vague details allow for the guest to fill in the holes with their own stories and emotions, making all of my thoughts invested into this story personal, even if I don't know the reader; more so for those whom the images and words were crafted for.