Surrealism, Video Games and Architecture


Hello fellow Architects,

I am a 5th year student and currently in the process of picking my final year project topic. I decided to take on a subject that I can later translate into an architecture project.

I chose Surrealism (which is a movement that I have always been curious about and that I always wanted to work on), researched some of its aspects and this is what I came up with: It is based on a space that is completely free from rational thoughts, with no sense of time where the subconscious can roam free. Objects can become spaces, create spaces and sometimes become obstacles depending on "architectural" elements such as light/shade, texture, geometry, etc...  my conclusion is creating a parallel "universe" or space that touches the "actual" space and time we live in in some areas to create a clash where subconscious meets conscious. 

I thought about using interactive architecture to help create this "parallel universe". 

Video games to me represent this kind of space where we can live in a universe that is "parallel" and limitless, timeless. 

I know my thoughts are all over the place but I am really confused on how to take it further and can't get a teacher's guidance for personal reasons... Help would me much appreciated.

Do you think this is a good final year topic? Can it be taken further? Any suggestions are welcome. :)

Jan 11, 17 10:29 am

"Do you think this is a good final year topic?"


"Can it be taken further?"


Jan 11, 17 10:45 am

Interesting topic for sure but you may have issues with the execution.

How practical can it be or is it purely paper architecture? How does it engage the sense if it's free of subconscious?

Video games for instance would require copious amount of time at coding. What language are you going to adopt? Bottom-up/top-down? What's the objective? Is the parallel universe going to similar to that of Dr Strange's? Sidenote: What will happen if the professor reviewing is tripping on lsd while staring at your universe? lol

Not sure if this is an appropriate example to follow but I always compared zaha's and lebbeus' paintings to that of a surrealist at work. It's an interpretation of the final work yet still able to stand on its own as an art piece. Obviously you'll need to put in effort to paint on canvasses to further compound that dreary effect.

The other method I can see this coming through would be juxtaposing images that come to mind and recreating it in photoshop, resulting in a series of images that depict an impossible space. Piranesi's etchings for instance is a good precedent.

Again, heaps of exciting possibilities that requires thorough reasoning before going forward.

Jan 11, 17 11:04 am

What about integrating augmented reality?

Jan 11, 17 11:41 am

I wouldn't discount movies either.  The latest Star Trek base for instance I thought was cool from a urban planning layout sort of thing where up and down are 'loosely defined'.  I think that (or space where there isn't gravity) would play well into a surrealist architecture.  Most movies for space travel assume artificial gravity or rotational gravity but it'd really sort of vary allowing you to do some very surreal stuff in that grey zone.

Another potential might be cruiseships, large Vegas hotels, etc..  Anymore, they are getting surreal in that the interior tries to trick you in how the space is perceived.  Can't remember the casino, but it uses forced perspectives to change the scale of what you think you see; Riveria? Florence theme?

I'd also look into neuroscience as it could play in well to surrealist art and architecture in how mentally we interpret things and can play on those fringes.

Jan 11, 17 2:29 pm

great topic - I incorporated video games into my M.arch thesis( I worked for a video game firm at the time) - also one of my class mates did her thesis on neuro-sciences

Jan 11, 17 3:13 pm
Superfluous Squirrel

It sounds like you're talking about minecraft. Its timeless and limitless, but lots of people use it to recreate the real world, or a fantasy world they like. 

Jan 20, 17 8:11 pm

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