RCA architecture students view a society obsessed with youth and beauty, and denial of death

Architecture students at the Royal College of Art in London have been exploring the concept of ‘immortality’.

Three final year and a first year postgraduate student in Architectural Design Studio 4 (ADS4) have been speculating on the consequences of a society increasingly in denial of death.

Project brief Youth, beauty, the media and celebrity fuel our desires, new technologies dazzle us with progress and hope; but in a future of increasing complexity, contradiction and dilemma, how might our desire for immortality manifest?

Buying a star, creating a celebrity perfume and setting up a charity in your own name have become normal in the world of legacy creation.

What will the architectural consequences be?

ADS4 questions who the key characters will be in the quest for immortality, who are our new Gods, how will they compete and what will be the pay-off?

As our investigations manifest, we lay foundations for new landscapes and designs that interrogate the metamorphosis of the city. In our search for an architecture that resonates far into the future, we ask what criteria will enable us to choose what or whom will become immortal?

A Crime of Passion By Rachel Harding, final year student


In a future where criminal DNA is utilised for gene therapy, how might the criminal DNA mend Britain’s breaking hearts?

The murderer Ted Bundy received 200 love letters every day.

In 2020, criminal DNA is utilised to supply the growing demand for gene therapies. It has been proven that people with similar genetic make-up are more inclined to fall in love. In fact, 50% of family members who only meet as adults feel attracted to one another.

The Ball and Chain Chapel is situated in the heart of Gunpowder Park, a love resort that provides a medical honeymoon of genetic perfection. Here, patients can receive gene therapies whilst enjoying romantic rendezvous with their criminal donors.

This beautiful venue offers passion and violence in equal measure, and all this from behind the safety of bullet-proof glass

Genatorium: Breeding Ground for the Risk Averse By Adam Smith, final year student


Could a partnership between Nomura Bank and Dulwich College create a new architecture of fertility and risk-free foetal conditioning in Southwark?

In 2020, Nomura Bank invests in a facility where the ambitious and vain can carry out risk-free pregnancy beside Dulwich College. King’s College Hospital offers an alternative home to foetuses at risk; those conceived in the bodies of the frail, addicted or incapable.

A single ‘natalea’ dominates the landscape, while below, scores of other natalea are temporary home to new human lives.

Scenes of the New Cross By Eliot Postma, final year student


Can a new form of Christian finance rejuvenate religion and the city fringe?

In 2024, with Christian life facing an uncertain future, the Church of England initiates a modern reformation to engage an otherwise apathetic public.

Responding to the two most prevalent fears of Briton’s youth, financial insecurity and environmental disaster, the Church begins construction of a new ark.

Learning from the success of Islamic finance and advances in synthetic biology, the ark ensures the immortalisation of Gods creations and the safe keeping of all that is precious.

Curing Huburbia By Simon Watson, final year student

Can disease-tech galvanise foreign interest to preserve a legacy of British medical innovation as a driver of urban regeneration?

In 2025 a consortium of entrepreneurs has sought to profit from disease-tech: Wuxi Pharmaceuticals, Novartis and the ever-expanding University of East London. New influenza strains, the increasing volatility of E.Coli infections and the spectre of vCJD all hang over the British population.

This group has created vital research and business facilities developing bio-plastics, vaccinations and new phage-therapy superbugs from British diseases, transforming Convoy’s Wharf in Deptford and creating world-class facilities that nestle under a fecund landscaped urban quarter.

Cultured Terrior By Max Klaentschi, first year student


In a near future of demonised and expensive alcohol, how far would we go to ensure continued access to its cultural fabric?

In 2025, Britain has thrown aside 10,000 years of alcoholic tradition in favour of heavy taxation; saving itself from drunken fiscal destruction.

The traditional British pub ceases to occupy the minds of the masses, consigned to nostalgic notions, whilst a nation at odds with one another remain at home, depressed and disconnected from meaningful social interaction.

At the Institute of Cultured Terrior, a laboratory complex co-exists with the production of tax-free tonic wine.

In exchange for ecotheraputic environments, social interaction and unlimited liver rejuvenating wine, its hive of 25,000 leisure workers must sacrifice their bodily tissues to re-attain their sanity.