Architectural responses in alternative realities: the politics of space through fiction in architectural education

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This article discusses the use of alternative reality scenarios inspired by science fiction texts as a learning and teaching methodology in architectural education and presents how the students engaged with political challenges in the production of space. Science fiction worlds create anxieties because they represent the futuristic unknown as an amalgam of otherworld images with familiar disquietudes. The sci-fi imagery becomes attractive to the spectator because it questions the perception of the everyday life. The paper uses case studies of works from three different groups of students, who had to design a response to fictional crises in actual urban environments based on science fiction precedents. It examines the students’ learning process and engagement that occurred throughout the given assignments, in order to support their understanding of the spatial, social and political context, while at the same time generating inventive representation and communication techniques. These alternative realities force students to think of different personas and as they construct their alternative societies understand the everyday challenges. The paper argues that setting up and visualising the imaginative, an amalgam of architecture, creative writing and illustration, becomes key in the process of conceptualising the place of intervention, the materials and the role space hold in the thin balance between utopian and dystopian situations, while creating high levels of engagement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-143
JournalScience Fiction Research Association Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2020


  • Science Fiction
  • architectural education
  • Design education
  • Architetcure


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