Author : Sunny Qin

University : Greenwich University

Status : MArch, 2014

Advisors : Nic Clear, Mike Aling

Title : Paradise of Paradises

“…The result was the many, many civilizations on the greater galaxy had their own Afterlives: virtual realities maintained in computational or other substrates to which their dead could go and – in some sense at least – live on…some afterlives simply offered everlasting fun for the post-dead: infinite holiday resorts featuring boundless sex, adventure, sport, games, study, exploration, shopping, hunting or whatever other activities specially tickled that particular species’ fancy… some – and the majority of the more long-established Afterlives – featured a sort of gradual fading-away rather than genuine post-death VR immortality with the personality of the deceased individual slowly – usually over many generations of time in the Real – dissolving into the general mass of information and civilizational ethos held within the virtual environment…in some the dead lived much more quickly than those in the Real, in others they lived at the same rate and in others far more slowly. Some even incorporated ways to bring favored dead individuals back to life again… and many still featured death; a second, final, absolute death, even within the virtual, because – as it turned out – it was quite a rare species that naturally generated individuals capable of being able, or wanting, to live indefinitely, and those who had lived for a really long time if Afterlives were prone to becoming profoundly, gravely bored, or going catatonically – or screaming – mad…”

– Iain Bank’s view on Paradises in the post-human galaxy in his book ‘ surface detail’

Paradises throughout history (ranging across cultures) are imaginary spaces of indulgence with limited restrictions (the blinkers of cultural identity, history and worldview aside). The design of a particular culture’s paradise was often informed by social, ideological and historically contingent philosophies, with material conditions derived from specific theological texts, images and existing urban environments. The Paradise of Paradises is set in the far future, a post-scarcity and post-singular society – an age with architectures of maximum and multitudinous pleasure. The project and the accompanying thesis researches into the architectures of historical paradises, alongside ideas of paradise in contemporary Science Fiction. After each paradise was researched, a list of spatial qualities were generated and categorised into smaller lists; these lists were then turned into virtual spaces and were categorised into four typologies – The Edenic Landscape, Subterranean Paradises, The Paradisle and Anti-gravity paradises. These paradisiacal spaces are posited around the Greenwich Meridian, they are the constantly growing city of paradise. At the center of the city lies the library of paradises – the Metadise – the paradise of paradises. However, the metadise itself contains the city of paradises which contains the metadise in the center.

Interview

S//A : What’s the most important aspect of this project that we should be aware of?
SQ_ This project deals with the theme ‘abundance’ in architecture – it explores architectures of maximum and multitudinous pleasure in a post-scarcity and post-singular society. We as architects need to think beyond the given context of society, we need to speculate on a future that is not dominated by the narrow concerns of late capitalism. The architecture of future archiving is also a main topic in this project; Please refer to the website to see more in depth: www.sunnyqin.com

S//A : What other fields outside of architecture interest you?
SQ_There are a lot of things that interest me – films, drawings, paintings, science fiction, literature, machines and video games.

S//A : Most important thing you learned in architecture school?
SQ_You need to have fun; you need to love what you do. Otherwise you will hate yourself and the whole world will hate you.

S//A : Describe your dream project
SQ_I have had so many dream projects ever since I was little; I guess my dream project would be to combine all these dream projects into one big project in some kind of fun way.