Worldbuilding in Architecture: An investigation into the significance and value of worldbuilding in architecture.

Zachary Low

Zac Low Cover Image

My thesis explores the topic of worldbuilding in architecture through the investigation of several projects. Each project examines a specific area of worldbuilding, seeking to portray the value found within each of them.

The investigations were all stand-alone projects, separately presented, and linked only by the common theme of ‘worldbuilding’.

The projects vary greatly. Some projects portray the value of social commentary produced by paper architecture, while others seek to push more whimsical ideas such as believability and fiction.

Presented here are three of those projects:

Project one is an investigation into the world of our mental archives of architecture. It makes the argument that all architecture, whether built or not, requires the practice of worldbuilding, and each project is a world all on its own. 

Archive Hero Image
Archive Exterior Render
Archive Interior Rendr 2

Project two is an investigation into the idea of believability within whimsical fiction through the implementation of narrative.

Its narrative encompasses the New Zealand housing crisis and is designed to be a hybridised prefab housing factory and fairground that takes a satirical take on the state of housing in New Zealand by directly comparing it to a carnival.

Housing Hero Image
Zac Low Housing 1
Zac Low Housing 3

Project three is an exploration into an inverse China town. It investigates the potential of social commentary held by paper architecture.

It portrays a world in which displaced Americans are placed into a heavily stereotyped 'little America' in the exact same vein that the Chinese of San Francisco were placed into an artificial China town after the fires of 1906. 

Usa Hero Image
Zac Low Usa
Zac Low Usa 1

Each project helped me conclude that worldbuilding relies on narrative and resonance to be successful. When designing architecture we have no choice but to be world builders and storytellers; the practice of architecture is literally just world-building within our own world. 

The studies also revealed that the value of worldbuilding stems from its potential for provoking meaningful discussions that would otherwise be hard to bring to light.

Archive Interior Render