Synthetic Landscapes

Maya Desai*

Posted on Sunday, November 21st, 2010 at 1:09 am

The project proposes an organic approach to the implementation of a uniquely synthetic landscape system as a new means o remediation for irreversibly degraded land areas.

Sited at the Gaspé Mines near Murdochville, the proposed project is that of a synthetic provincial ecotourism park, with an embedded research facility dedicated to study & on-site testing of alternative energy systems and environmental design. Tourists & researchers alike are invited to camp in the park, experience their surroundings and conduct their own experiments at various scales thus contributing to a constantly evolving synthetic nature. Challenging the notion of “naturalness” and our conceptions of a picturesque or sublime nature, this thesis aims to recreate the performative qualities of a forest ecosystem, from functional capacity to experiential quality. The project proposes an organic approach to the implementation of a uniquely synthetic landscape system as a new means o remediation for irreversibly degraded land areas. Based on automated systems and built-in mechanisms for succession, the implementation of a synthetic and interdependent hydrological & energy cycle create the rudimentary ecosystem for the beta landscape, while designed elements of performance, interactivity and programmed environmental cues create the experience of nature. Drawing research from across various fields of study, from synthetic biology to robotics, this thesis brings together seemingly opposite notions of nature & machine and serves as a speculative tool by which the discipline might contribute to the current dialogue on technology and renewable energy at the crucial research phase.

*Advisor: Rodolphe el-Khoury


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