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Design Dissertation: Overview

University of Cape Town 2018




The Machine in the Garden:

A Visceral Reflection on our Tenuous Relationship with Nature



The ability to withstand and recover from difficult condition.



Poetically shaped spaces that are bountifully imbued with a harmonious relationship with nature


This dissertation explores architecture’s relationship with nature, its resources and climate. It imagines an architecture that creates an awareness of the transient nature of all things and embraces the realities of climate change. The design exploration speculates a dis-aggregated network of decentralized infrastructure dispersed throughout the city of Cape Town that latches onto the intersections of movement between people and water. The outcome of this investigation is a proposal focused on a representative part of a bigger systemic strategy to rejuvenate the cityscape. It considers the extremes to which we might have to push the ‘machine in the garden’ in the face of resource scarcity. This inquiry unearths the forgotten history of the water tunnels flowing beneath the city and reinvigorates it as the weather veins of the city. The proposal delves into the subconscious world of the subterranean and its interface with the conscious ground plane. The research is inspired by the kinship between architecture and technology and their potential to create a symbiotic Arcadian future. The proposal utilizes urban agriculture, resource generation and infrastructural systems to invigorate the everyday experience of the city, the public conscious and the provision of basic human needs. The architecture embodies the vibrance of the city, operating as an organism molded by the specificities of site and becomes a statement of nature’s power and ability to weather away at the constructed. The architectural proposition is informed by the ungrounded-ness of anthroponic technology that utilizes an accessible systemic construction method that aims to shift paradigms surrounding material culture and is represented as a series of parasitic structures dispersed throughout the city that blurs the boundaries between natural and artificial.



Mono No Aware


"the pathos of things"

the awareness of the impermanence or transience of all things and the gentle sadness and wistfulness at their passing.


Wabi Sabi


"the beauty of imperfection and transience"

the beauty of the imperfect, impermanent and incomplete.

A Response to Climate Change + Rapid Urbanization

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