Exodus or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture is the final AA 1972 thesis of Rem Koolhaas, Madelon Vreisendorp, Elia Zenghelis, and Zoe Zenghelis. It elaborates a narrative of a walled city within London similarly to the Berlin situation at the time. This city, like West Berlin, is considered as a shelter that people access and thus become voluntary prisoners of architecture. The condition of the “liberty” here is paradoxically the imprisonment.
Here is the text supplied by the MOMA which owns the original drawings:
These drawings come from a series of eighteen drawings, watercolors, and collages called Exodus, or the Voluntary Prisoners of Architecture. The dense pictographic storyboard reflects Koolhaas’s earlier stints as journalist and screenwriter and is intended to be read simultaneously as a factual and a fictional scenario for the contemporary metropolis.
The title of the project alludes to Cold War West Berlin, a restricted enclave encircled by a forbidding wall—in effect, a prison on the scale of a metropolis, and one in which people sought refuge voluntarily. Exodus proposes a walled city in a long strip, with tall barriers that cut through London’s urban fabric—an intervention designed to create a new urban culture invigorated by architectural innovation and political subversion. Here Koolhaas and his collaborators use collage to create vivid scenes of life within these visionary urban confines.