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Fortress of the Free

Part 2 Project 2010
Stefan Tribe
Royal College of Art, UK
Can the Monarchy use architecture, mass entertainment and the potential of space exploration to boost their decaying legacy and ensure their brand of Britishness will survive forever?

British support for the Monarchy is in decline. 62% of the public declare that they would not miss the Queen’s Speech, and 69% feel the royal family are a waste of tax-payers money. The UK boasts the world’s second biggest aerospace industry and a reputation for delivering some of the largest and most advanced communications satellites worldwide. ‘Space based solar power’ technology proposes the launching of solar collecting satellites into orbit around earth, from where they would beam an abundance of clean, environmentally friendly energy back down to earth. Considering Prince Charles’s growing reputation as climate change campaigner, could this technology be the Monarchy’s ticket into the awe-inspiring realms of human space exploration? Windsor Great Park becomes the site of King Charles’s Spaceport complex. Powered by his Space Solar Power facility, the scheme expands to engage with a modern public to include a Royal Theme Park and new model town; covert recruiting grounds where suitable candidates are approached with offers to serve as the Kings astronauts. A new monument is built at the schemes centre. Comprising a town hall, hotel and planetarium, a public exhibition winds its way up the core of the building terminating at the ‘New Royal Observatory’. Recounting the long, rich history of the British Monarchy to date, the exhibition climaxes with a startling discovery, and reveals to us King Charles’s ‘Vision of Britain’, the ultimate destiny of the British Monarchy in the 21st century.

Stefan Tribe

Stefan’s near-future scenario ties together emerging technological, political, environmental and sociological ideas into a complex and highly intelligent design thesis, questioning the concept of immortality on many levels. In a world of political and environmental uncertainty, with desires of extreme technological advancement, Stefan weaves together poignant ideas with both local and global resonance.

Using new space-based solar power technology to question ideas of Britishness in the 21st century, the scheme references historical and diverse typologies from Renaissance fortresses and British new towns, to solar observatories and amusement parks, and creates a unique architectural landscape that can only be an exploration of tomorrow.

The intricacies of his research and astute critical thinking manifest in a set of drawings, models and objects exploring his thesis from a 1:2500 masterplan through to a 1:1 silver brooch; creating a complete world of real fiction that he has structured with absolute conviction.

It is this attention to detail, and the imaginative way he manifests the thesis into a programmed architecture, that makes this provocative and conceptually filmic future familiar. In doing so, Stefan’s design becomes a powerful tool that forces us to question our own design, and other, values.


Mr Gerrard O'Carroll
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