Artificial grounds | Designing within an ecology of oil
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date29/11/2022
This thesis is a work of architectural research, in the by design mode, carried out through an exploration of a specific local context, namely the region of Scotland known as West Lothian. The thesis is critical of the present global systemic reliance on “known” patterns or accepted ways of being and offers specific abandoned sites within West Lothian as moments of both incubation and resistance to these processes. The abstracted scales of the interconnected crises of climate and capitalism are explored via an examination of the Shale Oil industry, its people, processes and by-products set within the wider spatial/social imaginary known as the Central Belt of Scotland. This thesis locates these twin crises at the intermediate scale of the region and its landscapes and by sifting through archival, theoretical, and design work reveals conditions abstracted by climate, time, economics, politics and urban morphology. Presented as a meshwork (DeLanda) of design research into a landscape and its ecologies, this thesis elaborates the histories, present and future of the Central Belt of Scotland, the status and limits of that entity and its contribution to Global Warming. Through a folio and atlas of interconnected texts and drawings documenting a process of fieldwork and archival-based design led research the work establishes a method for critically situating an architecture within an economic and urban residue in a region where the accepted patterns of dialectical separation are severing not just the landscape from its people but also all actors from the biosphere. The thesis is critical of the techno-economic systems of integrated world capitalism (Guattari) and reflects upon the double bind (Bateson) embedded in the accepted human-environment relationship. By locating these global ecological abstractions or Hyperobjects (Morton) at the meso-scale of the region and its landscapes a new architectural approach to urban landscape and architecture emerges from the research, cognizant of the contextual specificities beyond normally tangible scales that have led to its conception.