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SCImatic Design at the INTERCAD 2011 – Vienna

Abstract for the presentation at INTERCAD 2011 – Vienna, Nov. 2011:

SCImatic Design – Categorizing the Architectural Utopia in the Genre of Science Fiction.

In the genre of filmic science fiction, architecture is a secondary but important factor, which has not been well explored yet. Although the visual background in film plays a key role in representing and defining the setting for the story and gives with its design structure a clear social and technological framework as well as time context, there has not been given much analytic attention to it so far. The generally very free and endless design options of science fiction architecture, however, let conclude that there exists innovative potential. Thus, it is time to examine this background within the framework of the theory of architecture.

Starting with a clear distinction of what science fiction architecture is and what it is not, the paper lays out the first results of the categorization of the architectural utopias in the genre of science fiction.

Basing on the leading principles for this kind of research, which are: the acceptance of incompleteness, the interpretation of the visible and the considering of the social circumstances and technological conditions, it is possible to discern clear borders and to gain results in analysing the science fiction architecture. These results are five incommensurable architectural stiles transgressing the different science fiction subgenres first developed within the project SCImatic Design.

This paper presents a system theoretical and qualitative analysis. Using visual examples of technological and sociological paradigms of various science fiction worlds; the paper aims at carving out prototypical architectonical style elements and structures and categorises them into a system from witch further conclusion could be drawn.

The investigated area for this study comprises the best 159 science fiction movies as defined by a German speaking online community. (mehr …)

SCImatic Design – Q&A NTNU Lecture

Here is a the summary of the disscussed topics and questions at the lecture at the NTNU Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts, 25.02.2011, Trondheim, Norway.

Lecture titel: SCImatic Design. Analysing the Architectural Utopia. A project about what architects colud learn from Science Fiction Architecture.

Q: What about the kind of Science Fiction Architecture which is organic and biological like in the movie Alien?

A: As long as they are organic – biologic elements thet function as application, this means as a form of plant, –  we do not regard them as architecture.  A building substance from purely biologic, organic elements could not be found so far in the films. But also if they were, I would not regard them as architecture as these systems generally have controlled, more or less autonomous intelligence, and as such have to be looked in a different way.

Q: How do you see the realationship between “normal“ architects and the people who do architecture in these movies?

A: I am sure the that there is not as much relation as you think. I think the architecture within these utopias is mostly designed by designers with a strong artistic approach. It is not necessary to build the buildings in their entirety. (mehr …)

SCImatic Design – Q&A from SCIFI-Worldcon 2010 – Aussicon 4.

Here is a short summary of the disscussed topics of the SCImatic conference paper presented at the Science Fiction World Convention – Aussicon 2010, Melbourne, Australia.

Paper titel: SCImatic Design. Analysing the Architectural Utopia.

Q: What about the concepts of “cities“ in science fiction? Are there some concepts of  new urbanism?

A: As far as the study of SCImatic is concerned, it has not been a key issue in our research so far. However, we already disscused this topic and we agreed that in order to analyse this issue we have to dig much deeper. Most probably we have to draw conlusion from very few and unclear properties.

Q: Which role does the principle of the selffullfilling prophecy play, when thinking about applying these things in the “real world“?

A: I am sure that the principle of the selffullfilling prophecy plays an important role in this conetxt. It get however more difficult to re-evaluate the directions of influence – SCIFI to reality or reality to SCIFI. But it can been seen (mehr …)

SCImatic Design at TU Trondheim

On friday, 25.02.2011, i had the great opportunity to present the idea of SCImatic Design at the Technical University in Trondheim. Lecture titel: SCImatic Design. An ongoing project about what architects could learn from Science Fiction Architecture.  Thank you for all the great questions and comments.

Slide 03

SCImatic Design – at Aussiecon 2010

SCImatic Design

Analysing the Architectural Utopia

Uwe Unterberger, 2010


This paper is an extension of an interdisciplinary research project I have been working on that draws on theories and viewpoints of technology as well as the humanities, interrogating and elaborating on questions of current architecture and its relation to dynamics of knowledge and the contemporary knowledge society.

In the genre of science fiction, architecture is a secondary but interesting factor, which has not been explored in much detail, yet. It is high time to examine this background within the framework of the theory of architecture as well as in my specific case also from a perspective of the philosophy of science.

Engaging into the research area of SCImatic Design started by analyzing how knowledge, cybernetics 2nd order and the theory of self-organizing systems changes our perception of architecture in the knowledge society[1] and it still finds itself in the phase of general positioning. This paper contains two parts: First of all, the definition of terms and a fundamental categorization of Science Fiction Architecture and, secondly, a short depiction of the relevance and functionality of SCImatic Design. (mehr …)

SCImatic Design auf der AUSSIECON 2010

Die AUSSIECON 2010 (wie sich die WORLDCON in Australien nennt) gab mir wie bereits angekündigt letzte Woche die Möglichkeit das Konzept des SCImatic Designs – also die Analyse von Science Fiction Architektur – dem dortigen Publikum näher zu bringen. Die 5 Tage dauernde Konvention war wie immer stark literarisch – und im akademischen Teil – literaturwissenschaftlich – ausgerichtet. Die Menge an neuen Betrachtungen und Fragen zum Thema SCImatic Design möchte ich gerne in weiteren Artikeln innerhalb der nächsten Wochen zur Diskussion stellen.

Der Vortragstext (auch zum Download) folgt in den nächsten Tagen.



SCImatic Design

Mit dem oben stehenden Titel und dem Untertitel Analysing the Architectural Utopia werde ich beim WORLD SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION ACADEMIC PROGRAMMING auf der 68. World Science Fiction Convention, vom 02. bis 06.September 2010 in Melbourne das unten stehende Abstract in ausführlicher Form präsentieren.

Was als interessante Idee begonnen hat wurde dann zu einem strukturierten Konzept. Die Kernfragen müssen aber in den nächsten Monaten noch sauber bearbeitet werden. Hier die Kurzfassungen:

Englische Fassung:

In the genre of science fiction, architecture is a secondary but important factor, which has not been well explored yet. It is time to examine this background within the framework of the theory of architecture. Multidimensional city development and energy as a structural element are only two examples of design elements, which open questions for a theoretical analysis: Which underlying functional and constructional conditions for architecture are valid in science fiction? In how far does the (mehr …)