Alyssa Goraieb

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-2016




architecture, wilderness, cities, reality, paradigm




Cultural Resource Management and Policy Analysis | Environmental Design | Landscape Architecture | Other Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


This thesis is an experiment to imagine the possible realities that emerge from a redefining of the "idea of wilderness".

Wilderness is an idea.

Its definition is slippery. It is neither a physical place nor a state of being (as the "-ness" suggests). Wilderness is a human construct defined by varying cultural and social attitude. This fluid meaning drove numerous paradigms throughout American history - from eighteenth century romanticism's sublime doctrine to today's environmentalism.

Inspired by past American paradigms, this thesis invents five other wilderness ides that exist as a parallel alternatives to our own. Each produces a representation of a possible manifestation of the reality informed by that paradigm.


Wilderness is inhospitable.

Wilderness is an aesthetic scene.

Wilderness is a site to see and consume.

Wilderness is valuable and at risk.

Wilderness is free of human purpose, utility, or design.


The Isolated Oasis: Wilderness threatens the pleasure garden.

The Opera: A viewing device.

The National Park: Tourism at the wilderness museum.

A Condition at Stake: Management of a fragile ecosystem.

Autonomous yet Altered: An affected landscape left alone to evolve.

The culmination of the five manifestations of alternate realities is a provocation intended to position architects to deign differently in the future as the relationship with wilderness continues to change.


local input

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