Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)



First Advisor

Malcolm Rio

Second Advisor

Pablo Castillo Luna

Third Advisor

Aaron Tobey


In her book, The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to The Internet (1999) science writer/artist Margaret Wertheim posits that cosmology is fundamentally based on how humans interpret space and situate themselves within it. Today's scientific view portrays the fabric of the universe as ubiquitous and undifferentiated in its substance, effectively a single space. In contrast, the medieval perspective delineated space into discrete entities with defined properties—in the case of Christian cosmology, through Heaven, Hell and Purgatory, separate planes with distinct material and metaphysical conditions. However, in the digital age, a new spatial cosmology has emerged, replicating the medieval model of multiple realms—the physical and the digital.

Just as churches served as conduits between celestial and terrestrial realms, screens act as portals to the digital domain, omnipresent yet materialized only through technology. Dante used verse to convey these spaces, Renaissance architects used the church typology to allude to the divine, and in digital space we use code. Architectural representation, as it has evolved from perspectival drawings to VR renderings, transforms the picture plane into a dynamic window into space and time. Occupiable by the viewer, VR is a form of representation but also as the final product, the architecture itself.

However, the mythology of digital space, like that of the Church, reveals inherent complexities (pollution; e-waste) and exclusions (cost; rarified skillset), challenging our perceptions of architecture and technology's role in shaping our reality, and by extension the role of the architect within this space.



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