Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Minor Project Scenario

St Faith's Church Project - "Pascal's Lost Wager"

For this project, Sam Sclater-Brooks and I have decided to join forces and hopefully reap the benefits of working as a team. The 'marriage', stemmed from mutual interests in both architectural and respresentational styles as well as crossovers in subject matter covered by our respective dissertations. Additionally we have worked together as part of a larger group on a number of occasions in the past and always found it to be productive.

The following work summarises our position so far, setting up a post-apocalyptic scenario and contextual setting which will lead on to a theoretical and architectural proposition.

Timeline charting the downfall of religion

Mapping the meteoric rise of the water table

The fragility of man in nature

The Allegory of the Second Deluge, and the establishment of the Erudition Respository

The fractured city scape of post-apocalyptic Havant

First hand accounts of the survivors

The allegory of the second deluge

Throughout history, wars have been fought and lost, advocated by religious doctrine. It had brought the world to the brink of nuclear destruction. When the doomsday clock ticked to within a minute of midnight, and the first missiles were launched, complete extinction was averted by a hair’s breadth with the advent of the Nuclear Decommission Initiative. Religious zeal was blamed, and the Pseudepigrapha Declaration demanded the immolation of all religious artefacts.

As the water began to rise on the South Coast, the severity of the situation was not given the required priority, as increasingly failing market economies and ever expanding transport networks demanded fuel and commerce that simply wasn't there. As a result the poorly constructed flood defence systems were compromised and the water continued to engulf the lowlands. The coastal cities were largely submerged by the rising water levels, causing the inhabitants to retreat inland to higher ground. Already overcrowded cities could not deal with the sudden overwhelming influx of populous, and consequently, massive slums began to spring up along the peripheries of all the UK's major cities. Some of the country's leading minds, who had prophesised the breakdown of society, began work on a solution. Nationwide rioting ensued, due to collapse of the country's agriculture and international trade which caused massive food shortages and widespread disease. Institutions broke down and chaos ensued in the urban centres. Eventually, those cities were abandoned as too dangerous to inhabit, as the storms and rapacious violence began to tear away the urban fabric.

Fearing the incessant ingress of the water table, any remaining communities on the South Coast moved as far inland as they could, many taking refuge in small self-sustaining villages.

Along with rising sea levels due to increasing loss of polar ice caps caused by global warming, the planet's ozone layer is sporadically depleted, causing erratic global weather conditions. With natural oil, coal and gas supplies reaching a state of blue ruin, and a global initiative seizing and disposing of most nuclear materials to avoid nuclear war, identification of alternative energy sources became paramount. The increased turbulence of the sea prompted society to consider offshore hydro-electricity farms as a possible primary power generator. Engineers began to identify key sites to locate their hydro-electric infrastructure, whilst prominent scientists and intellects followed the power source to begin their pursuit of the Absolute.

The desert landscapes of Northern and Southern Africa, North America, the Middle East and Australia have turned to glass, visually resembling the now-destroyed ice fields of the arctic. No living organisms are able to survive the volcanic surfaces in these regions. The previously temperate regions are now the only areas able to sustain life, although even these regions are barren and inhospitable. Only the most hardy and adaptable species have survived outside of human settlements. Plant life is now sustained only through the use of domesticated pollinating insects, held as a precious part of human survival. Ruins of abandoned human structures litter the surface, crumbling and overrun by parasitic creepers.

In a society where faith no longer plays a role in morality, celebration of life or grievance of death, the pursuit of the Absolute is all that's left for mankind to strive towards. To know the Absolute is to transcend reason and understand the immeasurable.

And so mankind, in order to increase his capacity for understanding and protect the most important resource of all, created an erudition repository.

“Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

George Santayana, The Life of Reason

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