Liam Young, 24 03 15

Applications for the Summer 2015 expedition close on May 01

The Unknown Fields Division is a nomadic design studio that ventures out on expeditions to the ends of the earth to bear witness to alternative worlds, alien landscapes, industrial ecologies and precarious wilderness. These distant landscapes – the iconic and the ignored, the excavated, irradiated and the pristine, are embedded in global systems that connect them in surprising and complicated ways to our everyday lives.

We are inviting you to join us for our Summer expedition, to work alongside international collaborators from the worlds of film, science, technology and fiction and travel through the Lithium Fields of Bolivia and the Atacama Desert. The Unknown Fields summer expedition is open to all architects, designers, artists, writers and interested parties, students or professionals.

For our Summer Expedition 2015 we map a landscape spectrum spanning rain soaked forests to parched flat earth as we blaze a trail from the Bolivian Amazon to the Atacama Desert. In the heart of Bolivia, we will bear witness to a site, which epitomizes a burgeoning new era of electric fuel. We chase the grey rush to Salar de Uyuni, where under ethereal inverted skies lies over half of the world’s reserves of Lithium. Buried here, beneath the mirror of the world’s largest salt flat, is a grey gold – a substance in every one of our pockets, in every gleaming device, and every electric car. Where a gear-shift in human technological development has rendered this landscape one of the most sought after on earth. This is the feeding ground of the new green energy revolution. If the future is electric then the future is here, lying in wait for the world. Our journey will take us to celebrated landscapes like these, the future of which is dictated by worlds beyond their spectacular horizons. From the salt flats we will drift through the Amazon, in search of the lost cities of the forest, and whispered tales of El Dorado, another gold rush long consumed by the trees. We climb to the top of the world, the highest city on the planet; the Bolivian capital of La Paz and we head down to the bed of a long lost sea; the Atacama desert. If the Bolivian salt flats are mirrors to the sky above then the Atacama is a mirror reflecting its possible future, for it is a site that has witnessed by hundreds of years of copper and nitrate mining. We will see this exhausted ground stripped bare and disappearing on the wind. From these dust clouds the Unknown Fields division of speculators, and prospectors will imagine the many futures of Bolivia’s charged ground. A ground of possibility, and potential, on the verge of change – a proving ground in a state of becoming.

Fees- All inclusive Workshop and Expedition fee: £1900. Participants are required to make their own way to meet Unknown Fields at the expedition starting point in Santiago, Chile on July 22nd.

For more details read below (more…)


Darryl Chen, 20 10 12

Darryl Chen’s Mobile Mountain [MBL.MTN] project and essay “On Infrastructure” have been published in Architectural Inventions: Visionary Drawings. The Laurence King publication presents a arresting and awe-inspiring visual study of impossible or speculative structures. Highlighting visions that exist outside of established channels of production and conventions of design, Architectural Inventions showcases a multiplicity in concept and vision, fantasy and innovation. (more…)


Liam Young, 17 10 12

As part of an ongoing collaboration with Archis + Volume, Liam Young and the Unknown Fields Division have co authored VOLUME 31: Guilty Landscapes. VOLUME joined Unknown Fields on ther Summer 2011 expedition form the chernobyl Exclusion Zone to Baikonur Cosmodrome and this research, developed  alongside Unknown Fields previous missions to dislocated hinterlands around the world have informed the issues theme. Guilt has been effectively used to control and manipulate the masses. But it can also be the start of a change for the better: awareness, concern, action. Engagement and guilt are never far apart. Engagement is sublimated guilt. We can build on guilt, but can we build with guilt? Is guilt a material to design with? You can see the table of contents or check out a sneak preview of the issue.  

In three sections: revelations, confessions, and atonement, the issue presents a global scan of large-scale guilty landscapes and our design relation to them. A major section is dedicated to the Chernobyl ‘exclusion zone’ as a post nuclear disaster area, with other contributions focusing on landscapes transformed by mining industries, waste, human atrocities and more, as well as ways to atone for these criminal acts.


Liam Young, 29 06 10

From the 9-17 July Liam Young will be coordinating a design studio for the Architectural Association visiting summer school in Madrid with Ricardo de Ostos principal of Naja & de Ostos and Tobias Klien of Horhizon. Shadowy forces have conspired to put together this axis of evil teaching lineup drawn from the most twisted and kinky studios the AA has to offer.  It will be a rock n roll 10 day intensive design studio including lectures, workshops and prototyping. Places are still available and you can sign up here.

The studio theme will be ‘Bleaching Green’ which will explore the relation between architecture and energy use in dense cities in the near future. The Bleaching Green workshop will venture into uncharted territories blending design intuition and technological invention. By casting a critical eye on current sustainability and environmental strategies, the course objective is to investigate architecture as a hybrid of artificial and natural systems.