Above Ground Level
University of British Columbia
School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture
Design Studio Thesis
Thesis: Dana Salama
Advisors: Fionn Byrne, Sara Stevens, with Scott Sørli
Air Space has become an increasingly commodified and militarized landscape that is heavily occupied by machines. The acceleration of technology by state and corporate powers has resulted in an unequal relationship between private and public property distribution and operation in supersurface space.
This investigation uses Paul Virilio’s analysis of dromological space as a conceptual framework to understand spatial politics in air space, and how private citizens might reclaim this territory in order to build agency within it. Paul Virilio refers to dromological space as space governed by the acceleration of technology—specifically tied to machinic advancements sustained by the military industrial complex. These values are reflected in recent developments in air space—specifically hybrid technologies such as Google’s Project Loon which are designed to evade legal and technological classifications in order to ambiguously occupy air space. This research provides four provocations; tales told through architectural objects at 18 km, 79 km, 408 km, and 35 786 km which aim to question systems of power above ground level.