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  • The Wilderness Idea

    Alyssa GORAIEB, "Fragmented Monolith." Model.
    syracuse NEW YORK

    Syracuse University
    critics: Greg CORSO.

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Alyssa GORAIEB: It is generally understood in America that wilderness is a place where nature exists in a pure and pristine state that is separate and away from the cultivated environment.

    However, there is no longer any place that qualifies as ‘wilderness’ by these terms. It is now known that there is no such place that is unaffected by human beings in our globalized world. Even the most pristine parklands are infiltrated with electromagnetic waves and subject to global warming. Wilderness is at stake. But there is a future for wilderness when understood differently.Wilderness is an idea. It does not exist as a place. The idea is culturally constructed and is one side of a dichotomy within nature, where on the other side is the cultivated environment. Wilderness is an anthropocentric attitude towards the world. To preserve wilderness, we must preserve the idea of it. I propose that the architecturalization of the value systems that make up the several paradigms within the wilderness idea contributes to the preservation of wilderness when understood as an idea. The thesis is first a lens to extract and distill the cultural meaning and values of wilderness. Second, I believe that there is great potential in the rearranging of the wilderness rhetoric to provoke more generative design around the issues of preservation.