#108 Inverted Panopticon


B10_#108 // The Vivarium // Elif Ongut 

The brief states that architects should think about designing a vivarium for their own species. Setting the stage in a dystopic, sci-fi future, the design sets out to create a vivarium for humans.

The scene focuses on a behavioural experiment being conducted on a person for research purposes. Similar to how pharmaceutical companies pay other people to test their drugs, the experiment here is being conducted with the consent of the volunteer. The volunteer spends minimum a week in the vivarium.

The cylindrical geometry of the design echoes that of The Panopticon by Jeremy Bentham. It takes Bentham’s theory further by reversing it, where the occupant cannot see the observer/ audience however, the observer/ audience can see the occupant. The inversion is explained through the numbers, where the observers are greater in number than the occupants. The design allows 360 degree views around the vivarium and the sound insulation prevents the occupant from knowing who’s watching or if there is someone watching at all.

Elif Ongut is a Part 1 Architecture Graduate from The University of Edinburgh (ESALA)