Introducing B21 Fellow: Thomas King

Architecture is one of the most influential and universal languages known to humankind. It is a means of expressing ourselves, shaping the world we inhabit, altering our perspectives and transforming the way we live and interact with our surroundings. Architecture transcends the realm of synthetics and industrialism; rather, it existed long before the conception of artificial habitat. We can see this in the structural form of leaves, forests, physiology, geological morphology, and can observe the influence its surroundings have in sculpting its evolution. It is evident that this remarkable field is novel, yet timeless.


However, our architectural culture on Earth has still much to learn from; primarily in the scope of our environmental physiography. In contempt of this, it can be recondite to search for innovative prospects in which we may allow architecture to burgeon into resonance with the environment by gazing within the sphere of our planet’s suggestions, or to contrive entirely non-archetypal ideas that remain, in themselves, archetypes of their own. Therefore, I propose we go above and beyond.


This leads me to explore the realm of possibility in which we can express ourselves among distant planets and regions of dark expanse, places that architecture and human creativity have yet to touch. The mind begins to design new dwellings, cities, monuments inspired by the conceptual environments a new “world” contends, and along with these visionary landscapes comes the challenges and novel roles the emergent astro-architect must adapt to. It creates an entire contemporary field based around the structuring on other celestial bodies, and further ignites greater forms of innovation and inventive prospects. The potential is infinite.


Thus, the ideas of which I intend to discuss are not of prosaic nature. The first, and foremost, intention of this project is to inspire; to motivate, to instill passion within others, to pass on and convey visions and inspirations. It is meant to ignite a profound sense of imagination and awareness, and to illuminate a beautiful feeling of inventiveness. Fundamentally, this is what architecture is, and should be; as it is paramount that we design the edifices that form our world to invoke a presence of awe and wonder into the hearts of their beholders, to embolden within our minds the means to form a better life. Understanding architecture in this sense is essential.


Hence, given the BLUE Fellowship, I would aspire to redefine the bounds of our knowledge in this dimension. Specifically: how will the discovery and habitation of exoplanets affect architecture? Moreover, how can the models of architecture on other worlds relate to design habits on Earth? This is a task in the realm of uncovering the esoteric beauties of the universe that, I believe, have the capacity to serve as some of our most profound wells of inspiration. This subject extends across a cosmos of physical realities that merit artful expression, from the composite lighting mechanisms necessitated to account for living in a binary star system, to the implications of gravitational waves in renewable energy—the opportunity is endless. And in this composition of architecture and astronomy, I hope to reassert among others the former’s relevance to all disciplines, and the potential it has to inspire.


Thomas King is a U1 student in the Peter Guo-Hua Fu School of Architecture. He is deeply passionate about sustainability and its relation to architecture, and intends to immerse his life into the realm of revolutionizing design methodologies to better cohere with our natural surroundings.

Vincent Van Duong