Matthew’s 1996 Architectural Association diploma project Coffeyville describes a fictional city built by its inhabitants in the California desert using recycled industrial waste.

A Desperado Story

The Desperado trajectory, narrative of this project, is always fatal, and is inseparable from the American dream, California and the desert.


The Dalton brothers, two desperadoes, were on a mission to map the last uncharted physical frontier – the inconsistencies and details that make up daily life. These errors cannot be described by mathematics and are the last obstacle preventing the complete virtualisation of perception. The Daltons quantified the last remaining physical evidence of their identity and disappeared into a spiral of death and destruction from which there was no return.

Virtualisation takes command

Coffeyville is built from the spent jet trash of the mechanical age. Its vortex is a scene painting shed from Sony’s Hollywood studios, which went redundant when computer back drops became film industry standard.

The citizens of Coffeyville left the city to live immersed in a desperado world on the virtual frontier. It combines the most extreme physical conditions with non government approved testing for the latest reality technologies.


The night rooms:
Spaces under the artificial dunescapes transform day into night. the ceilings are pools of water cast in translucent reinforced PVC, filtering the light and the heat.

The dunescape:
The relatively flat landscape is bulldozed into an artificial dunescape, sand cast in metal screening, which glimmers at sunset, held in place by redundant grain silos.Trailers, dune buggies, barrels and tanks hold necessities, plumbing and living room spill out doors – it only rains once a year.