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Maximum City | Technocentric Operative Models for the post anthropogenic city

UCLA | MSAUD | Fall 2021 - Winter 2022
Instructors: Guvenc Ozel, Tucker Van Leeuwen Hall, Laure Michelon
Collaboration with: Pranay Motta


The Souq is an interactive mirage of perpetual celebration between humans and their machines in a speculative post human world.

As Consumption devices have traditionally been notorious invaders of their natural surroundings, The Souq yearns to be an exception to the norm. Its ginormous scale gives it ample opportunity to geoengineer remedies to the land. As it invites people from all over the world to the once forbidden lands of Arabia it rekindles debate about the potential development of a republic that resides within the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


The Souq is a maximum city of post humous consumption. The project intends to use the resources of extended reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence to speculate about how technology and its architecture would shape the future of consumer retail in the city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia about 50 years from today.

What will the future of retail look like? Will traditional retail survive against e-commerce and online sales? How would a free-tourist industry in the absolute authoritarian state of Saudi Arabia function? With environmental sensitivity on the rise, how will capitalism evolve to meet the demands of the new generation? What does an escapist paradise in the drylands of Arabia look like?

The Souq is an elaborate investigation of these concerns and speculations. 

Experience in AR

Research and Machine Learning

The formal ideas of the project were conceptualized using Machine learning tools such as VQGAN. The most successful results were generated using biomimicry as the primary keyword and various scales of target images were used to derive relevant results.

This formally provocative imagery was then translated into physical form through iterating the 2D patterns and imagery to generate BnW displacer images.  These 2D displacers were then used on myriad forms of basic geometries to generate the 3-Dimensional formal complexity that was inherent in the GAN images.

Site Formation and zoning using VQGAN and CycleGAN

VQGan Clips & Displacement Maps

VQGAN Images
Displacement Maps

Spatial Design

The 3D forms were now reinterpreted to explain these forms as systems of architecture and urban design. The layout of the city is an elaborate integration of pathways, water bodies and gardens.

Towers of Fulfillment were envisaged as huge vending machines which manage retail operations through automated means while Mosques and Plazas are linked throughout the urban network acting not only as spaces with religious importance but also as systems of social and digital interaction.

Building Typologyies

Tower Section

Interactive Design

The interaction takes place amidst the intertwined network at ground zero, directing its virtual users through the mosque and experience plazas. Art is at the center of this interaction. Art galleries bring users to specific portals where retail opportunities spawn as their proximity to them increases. Within the galleries, users interact with the digital prototypes of the physical product before deciding to purchase or move on. The interactive design is focused on creating a social environment whose primary goal is one of awareness and social integration where retail just tends to happen.

Souq Cafe

Souq Experience

Souq Retail 

VR Blueprint (unreal game engine)

VR Elevator

elevator bp

VR Interactive Button

button bp

Proximity Sensor 

Proximity sensors bp
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