Architecture is obviously irrelevant without a contingency. However, in the context of our economic, political and environmental instabilities, we are experiencing a very particular emphasis on architectural performance and efficiency at the moment. Ranging from managerial metrics of environmental engineering to the hyperrealism of problem solving and un-biased data accumulation, systemic thinking reveals architecture’s desire to engage with the realities of the world but limits its unique capacities to uncritical borrowings from environmental sciences and management. Here, at this very juncture, the simple question is, what if reality is not entirely real but is instead nothing more than an agglomeration of representations in themselves? Can we talk about a new kind of realism in architecture that couples deep engagement with environmental contingency with its seemingly opposing counterparts such as representation? In the context of discussions on climate change, and the new geological epoch posited by the Anthropocene, can we imagine unfamiliar aesthetic couplings between the representational and the material, or between the real and the abstract, instead of limiting our agency simply to the managerial?