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

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.