1NOVEL LANDS – GENEOLOGYWith the desire to form a monstrous environment, we established our thinking process as a dialog between transformative methodologies and a site that served an imaginary rodent for speculative large-scale operation. The methods we developed throughout the semester add fictional dimension to several rather rational theories of well-known scholars. Saratoga Springs and its rich history provided a stimulating feedstock for our reconstructive intensions, promoting a dialog of urban fanciful dynamos and a city that is desperate for a renaissance.The research consisted of pulling together disparate threads to create an understanding of how humans are integrated into the experiential production process of an environment, following a mutating code. Since bodies are not wholes; bodies are matter, Multiplicities and Inorganic Bodies, a text by Greg Lynn, has helped us perceiving bodies in an abstract environment with respect to the virtual or inorganic. In his essay Lynn suggests the possibilities of a lifeless body existing not as a whole but as a multiplicity. Lynn addresses a systematic understanding of proportional geometry as a way to introduce the idea of realizing an interior space and the place of the body in it.1 It becomes apparent that Lynn suggests a new language of conceiving physical shape in relationship to life. The different perspectives and scales in which our project is dependent on treat Saratoga Springs as a hub of joviality rather than just another New York state micro city. How can an environment translate into a cultural factor that will, in turn, affect the way a group of people behaves? The dialog between the physical and the abstract is one that we wish to explore stressing rational benefits as well as fictional desires. It is the quest for this definition that motivated the investigational journey towards the project’s completion.We began our experimental journey with the idea of manipulating the topographical information of landscape in the same nonchalance one would manipulate fabrics in the fashion industry. To achieve an appropriate understanding of technics from the field of stitchery, the book by Paul1 Lynn, Greg. “Multiplicitous and Inorganic Bodies.” Assemblage, no. 19 (1992): 32. doi:10.2307/3171175.2Jackson has offered multiple pleating diagrams and explanatory content that were taken out of their original disciplinary context and brought into a geographic realm. 2 Stitchery is applied over the topographic surface using domestic annotations as fabric-like matrix. Complete pleats: pleating techniques for fashion, architecture, and design explains how pleating methodologies can be expressed through stretching, compressing, flaring, skewing and mirroring, providing a sufficient bank of ubiquitous codes to be applied over a topographic surface. 3 Each technique is illustrated with simple diagrams, enabling us as designers of a foreign field to extract basic principles of transformation and adapt them to our specific needs. We see such transcultural conversion of ideas as a promising approach for the production of abnormality. Alternating topo lines with the structural guidance of stitching graphs resulted in a brand new topographic reality, one that appropriates for transforming a boring town to be an amusing place to visit.Land Mosaics: The Ecology of Landscapes and Regions, a book by Richard Forman, introduces a larger scale of transformative operation. Forman tests the feasibility of different environmental combinations to an ambiguous extent. We first considered the graphic representation of Forman’s ideas to hold a great interpretational potential. He simulates the core ideas of Land Mosaic with diagrams of different environmental scenarios stressing new spatial and organic logics within nature. He mentions the concept of “indispensable patterns” of habitat that are related to both configuration and fragmentation and are indispensable to maintaining an ecologically viable landscape. Furthermore, Forman identified five ways in which humans can alter the landscape spatially: perforation, dissection, fragmentation, shrinkage, and attrition. These actions allow for different spatial patterning of landscape elements that change the entire ecological logic of its2 Jackson, Paul. Complete pleats: pleating techniques for fashion, architecture and design. London: Laurence King, 2015.3 Jackson, Paul. Complete pleats: pleating techniques for fashion, architecture and design. London: Laurence King, 2015.3inhabitants (humans, plants, and animals). 4 Though Forman backs his theories with the help of factual natural moments, the ideas that are generated do not necessarily have to be physically realized. Testing possible relationships between landscapes is an idea that could be studied abstractly and start to generate associations that have never been illustrated before. The knowledge Forman grants, promotes a new tectonic trajectory within Novel Lands testing the limit of environmental affairs. Enchanted by Forman’s imagination, we test physical environmental realities to an extremely speculative degree knowing they do not sponsor practical context. By doing so, we present abnormal territorial relationships, reaching new standards of contextual excitement.The desire to promote a concept of new habitats brought up the dialog of the body and the fabricated environment. Such journey depends upon the comprehension of a domestic history heritage and culture. In the book The View from Above, Jeanne Haffner delivers the historical evolution of transforming visual data into cultural understanding, focusing on the birth of aerial photography and its deployment within twentieth-century France. 5 Haffner describes a leaping event where, French ethnographer Marcel Greaule finds large geographic patterning to be a direct expression of cultural values. The text builds a new understanding of cultural footprint in different scales. Novel Lands tests how the relationship between the body and the environmental scale objects affects the manner in which an ornament is perceived by a human. Some cultural representations as Greaule found, due to their scale, are beyond our ability to grasp. Within our thesis we wish to make cultural background available for a human to identify by calibrating its physical scale. Providing a region with the intelligence of making its content available for people to grasp can maintain the relevance of local identities and the attention they win. Understanding the way technology and ethnography evolve together helped us approaching the Novel Lands of Saratoga Springs in a technological as well as social deportment, all while identifying the dialog of these two mediums. The relationship of ethnography and aviation sheds light on the value of4 Forman, Richard T. T. Land mosaics: the ecology of landscapes and regions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 19995 Haffner, Jeanne. The view from above: the science of social space. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013.4technology when unfolding a field of study. The role of technology within the Degree Project is significant due to its affordance to generate costume made outputs. Inspired by cryptography and running algorithms, the code that matches environmental feedstock to a transformative method is the one that defines and enables different resulting relationships. “Novel Lands” primarily promotes guidelines for speculative transformations to support a fictional environment with ambition that is set in advance. The database is naturally a main factor in cementing and propagating a new relationship of intelligence and a piece of land. The manners in which we conceive the feasibility of such introduction illustrate the development of a substantial reality with a genetic script. In modern times it is hard to keep up with the rapid development of technology. The world, who has allowed technology in, now has to embrace the changes and grow along with it. Success of such theoretic mutation could be measured by the willingness of societies to test these ideas in practice.The methodological development of our idea simultaneously evolved with the understanding of the site and its background manifesting an interdependent narrative of a transformative enterprise and the object it acts upon. Jon Sterngass’ First Resorts was important for the full understanding of Saratoga Springs and its cultural evolution. It is an important stepping stone in the evolution of the American resort, and consists of a rich transformational background6. As Sterngass describes, previous urban transformations in Saratoga Springs were executed with a lack of sensitivity to the town’s heritage. Thus he suggests, injustice was done when alienated leisure activities were introduced to maintain the city’s economic success with no consideration of the town’s heritage that is now nostalgia. In order to establish a better future for the city, Novel Lands wish to compensate for the contextual damage and mutate Saratoga Springs’ identity in an educated fashion. One cannot understand a mutation without appreciating its history. In order to form an educated hybrid we were obligated to claim a full understanding of Saratoga’s environmental shifts throughout history and its cultural core structure. Considering the complex history of Saratoga Springs, Novel Lands wishes to6 Sterngass, Jon. First resorts: pursuing pleasure at Saratoga Springs, Newport, and Coney Island. London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.5perform not just as an arbitrary environmental generator but rather as a site-specific hybrid mechanism.Another fundamental source that cannot be overlooked provided us with the confidence to expend the limits of our irrational allowance in the pursuit of our thesis. Novel Lands was inspired by the previous innovative and rather extraordinary efforts by Archigram in transforming urban architecture. Archigram is a group of British architects who burst on the scenes with a bold manifesto for urban building. They had a utopian vision that put social needs at the center of their projects. Their work consisted of modern and challenging ideas where architecture played a significant role. Their rethinking of the way society and technology operate was never thought of before and to a certain extent predicted the future. A guide to Archicram has put together a small library of the group’s work which showcases their most influential and exciting designs and limitless ideologies.7 The different visuals in the book greatly stimulated the way elements have been portrayed ranging from the aesthetics to the avant-gardist approaches. The modern approach that Archigram initiated is one that designed new technologies within the social setting of their time. The group seemed to improve social habits by creating spatial changes and imagining better tools. These were the first ideas acting upon our desires to invent an upgraded environmental reality to address the Saratoga Springs myth.The evolution of our thesis thus depends on three main mediums: one is the feedstock for the transformative mechanisms. In this case Saratoga Springs is relevant not just as a region to be regenerated by the hand of architecture, but also as a registered subject of history and narratives with categorical needs that projected upon the growth of the architectural approaches we develop throughout the semester. Jon Sterngass and other scholars described Saratoga Springs with a high degree of sensitivity that was necessary for the understanding of the town’s compulsion. These mechanisms and the second infrastructural component of Novel Lands were established with the7 Crompton, Dennis “A guide to Archigram 1961-74. London: Academy Editions, 1994.6desire to address the local hunger for a change, bringing abstract large-scale surgical operations to the table proclaiming better solution than any contemporary architectural platform. Scholars like Richard Forman Jeanne Haffner and David Gissen describe the outcomes for large environmental shifts to different degrees of feasibility rendering a path for fictional planning. The third core component is the allowance to build castles in the air of Saratoga. Archigram and Greg Lynn have proved the implementation of fictional ideas before sustaining us with the fearlessness to stake on educated speculation, and aim to find a path to the future of architecture.