The Empath

Cameron Williams

Fictitious Space


Keith Mitnick


Harold, a young architect disillusioned in corporate practice, returns to his struggling hometown that he had left as a teenager. Already having reservations about the clientele and occupants of his firm’s work, he wants to help the community through making unique buildings, believing architecture can and should serve the many rather than the few.

Mindful of the pitfalls of the vainglorious heroic architects of the recent past, Harold views himself instead as someone more concerned with architecture’s social impacts rather than his own authorship of visionary work. He is inspired by the monuments and temples that have endured the centuries from their striking forms and resistance to obsolescence. If his designs are good enough, Harold believes he can spur a revitalization of the town and also recreate the sense of place the town had in its prosperous days.

This thesis explores architecture’s capacity to address economic and social issues using fiction. Architects often speak of social responsibility, equitable and accessible design, but the profession also relies heavily on designing the opposite. Harold’s story examines what an architectural response to decline might be.