Temporal Existence in a Post-Work City

Design Conception/Visual Illustration/3D/Animation:
Sarah Young, Jessica Crow, Waad Husein, Lexi Benton, and Alex Dominguez

Life in a Post-Work City is centralized, unconstrained to the limits of time or profit, and sustained by people’s desire to thrive in the collective present. In imagining what a post-work future might look like, we abstracted the architectural canon of institutions in an attempt to re-center the unsung elements of a fulfilling life: 1. learning 2. play 3. leisure 4. reflection 5. growth/nourishment 6. care 7. gathering.

1. SCHOOL / learning

As education evolves into less formalized structures, where pursuing greater knowledge is a more accessible venture, digital workshops, tutorials, and a DIY mindset pervade the current culture. In a Post-Work City, likely with the newly available surplus of time, learning would continue to increasingly become skill and trade-based as it was in the past. People would opt to engage in learning unconstrained to high-career pursuits. There would be less gatekeeping of academia with the pursuit of education for pure interest and a desire to improve existing systems.

The semi-permanent tent structure proposed aims to re-capture the lost playfulness of education. It also rejects the need for an official building. It rather adopts the belief that education is a continuous process, and the environment in which you can learn is limitless.

2. AUDIO FOREST / play

The Audio Forest is an interactive, sensory intervention that governs place-making through a combination of sound and form. Nested into the city blocks, the intervention orients users by projecting a variety of ambient noises in connection to the time of day or year. Similar to the reliability of elevator or mall music, the Audio Forest provides a background soundtrack to everyday life. The intention is not to create something overtly functional, but rather in a post-work future, make something that is simply fun to be connected to the present moment.

3. PARAMOTORS / leisure

Powered paragliders, also known as paramotors, are a form of personal transportation that allows users to air travel. Similar to the way a city rental bike or scooter might work, we imagine paramotors as a new standard for personal travel and the return of leisure travel. The structure that houses the rental paramotors acts as a large departure ramp which is connected to a rail track as a larger transportation network of the internal city and the connection to beyond.

4. MUSEUM / reflection

Considered the cultural bedrock in any city, the museum presents a curated collection of historical realities and permanence. Its value beyond cultural enrichment and record is in its ability to project existential reflections upon our current society. As a viewer, you are courted to take pause in contextualizing your relationship between you and civilization at large.

In this museum proposal, entitled ‘Today is History’, a museum is a collection of outdoor interventions instead of than a single, sprawling institution. It is human-scaled, not taking up more space than a few phonebooths, and condensed into a part-public seating and part-machine space. The intention is to think differently about how we perceive enshrined history — rather than our stories be put through the filtered lens of insitutional power, the museum(s) would provide the opportunity for people to upload their personal accounts of history via objects. 

5. GREENHOUSE / growth/nourishment

A literal space for cultivation and a symbolic gesture of collective growth, the greenhouse functions as a centralized food garden. In a post-work future, people will likely move to smaller ‘communes’ — as the geographic need for both industry and housing in the same place diminishes —and people will need to produce their own food sources. The idea of production moves from mass distribution to smaller collective sustainance. 

6. HOUSING / care

Housing, a contentious issue in any society — past or present —must hinge its future on the basis of care. Care, when applied to housing, may look a lot like multi-generational, flexible, living spaces. This proposal suggests the post-work future of housing might be in some ways connected to a greater level of transience. It is modeled as a vertical village for mobile homes. Neighborhoods are thought of as the collected modulation of these structures. It would allow familial networks to occupy a section of a floor, so that multiple mobile home structures could be arranged as one familial network housing unit. 

7. OBELISK / gathering

The function of a central square or plaza would remain in a post-work future. With the increased availability of time, the opportunity for serendipitous encounters and social gatherings also increases. The re-imagined obelisk would serve to display information or project community notices — anything from missing dog posters to violin lesson advertisements.

Its’ classic iconography remains as a nod to the city center and promotes instant recognition and orientation from any point in the city.