Architecture, Culture and Science Fiction (summer)

Permission of Instructor
Limited to 10


  • Workshop occurs in Summer 2020 but registration is for the Fall 2020 term.
  • Expected number of work hours per week: 11
  • To enroll: Send email of interest to both instructors: ginevra@mit.edu, yacoby@mit.edu

Most architecture is rarely built and most design is rooted in assumptions and simplifications of our world, much like science fiction. Science fiction, however, often engages very critically with the reality it alludes to. In what ways does the discipline of architecture do that and how is this communicated? We are interested in this tension, looking at science fiction as if it was reality and conversely at reality as if it was science fiction.

We approach the genre of science fiction not only through the lens of future technologies and dystopia, but also as a critical medium through which we can question a wide range of topics concerning our current and future society, ranging from gender and identity to environment and crisis. We are particularly drawn to the dual reading of science fiction: both in terms of the society that it expresses (through characters and interactions) and in terms of the society that it implies (through the built form of the fictional world). The possibility of a utopian society to be constructed through dystopian means. This doesn’t feel unfamiliar to us in the field of architecture.

This course will focus on representation as a social and political act of storytelling. We hope to critically unpack text, film, and audio through anthropological, social, and art historical lenses, and to express our interpretations, views, and experiences through representational exercises (architecture’s greatest fiction as well as it’s primary vehicle of communication). Participants will be encouraged to take a position and work on representing it in their work.