UBC Graduate Research

Synthetic Worlds : Ecological Architecture and Enclosure in an Age of Crisis Bartsch, Madison


The Earth currently faces many threats to its biosphere including mass-extinction. Architecture is implicated in the problem but also in the history of searching out ways to live sustainably. If our species has any hope for long-term survival, we need to rapidly find ways to support the complexity and biodiversity of our world to increase resiliency and adaptability. The architecture of closed worlds offers interesting examples of the ways we try to recreate nature inside the built environment. The line between what is natural and artificial is increasingly questionable and closed worlds provide a realm to explore emerging theories around synthetic ecologies. The design of multi-species synthetic worlds within our cities may provide a type of space for humanity to become entangled in a process of generating healthy new worlds and countering extinction through architecture. The response of a design project is to combine natural and artificial systems that work symbiotically as a form of synthetic ecological refuge that protects the residents of Vancouver, British Columbia in times of climate crisis. A new typology of synthetic world engages with issues of existential risk and the enclosure of nature as a way to design towards a resilient and biodiverse future.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International