This video explores how the settings and spaces in the first season of HBO’s Westworld contribute to the overall interpretation of the show. From the lawless town of Sweetwater, to the tightly controlled offices of Delos, Westworld uses architecture precisely to establish its intricate worlds. While the show is set within a theme park of the near future, books like Michael Sorkin’s Variation on a Theme Park argue that we are already treating the cities we live in — in real life — as theme parks. So, while Westworld shares a number of architectural strategies with places like Disneyland, it is also not too far away from places like Chicago, New York, or London. After all, it was the architect Charles Moore that declared Disneyland the most influential urban environment built after World War 2. Getting to the bottom of this rabbit hole includes lots of train rides and an introduction to Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopia, which helps explain what happens when worlds collide.
Architecture with Stewart is a YouTube journey exploring architecture’s deep and enduring stories in all their bewildering glory. Weekly videos and occasional live events breakdown a wide range of topics related to the built environment in order to increase their general understanding and advocate their importance in shaping the world we inhabit.
Stewart Hicks is an architectural design educator that leads design studios and lecture courses as an Associate Professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also serves as an Associate Dean in the College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts and is the co-founder of the practice Design With Company. His work has earned awards such as the Architecture Record Design Vanguard Award or the Young Architect’s Forum Award and has been featured in exhibitions such as the Chicago Architecture Biennial and Design Miami, as well as at the V&A Museum and Tate Modern in London. His writings can be found in the co-authored book Misguided Tactics for Propriety Calibration, published with the Graham Foundation, as well as essays in MONU magazine, the AIA Journal Manifest, Log, bracket, and the guest-edited issue of MAS Context on the topic of character architecture.