as all of u know, i am obssessed with cities and the idea of urbanism, so naturally i'm also a huge architectural geek. i love nothing more than a fantastic view of a city's skyline. a huge metropolis is more than just a giant, man-made infrastructure: it contains millions of people and their disparate dreams and is fascinating because it does not just represent the hopes of generations of people, it is also a concrete manifestation.

back in the first half of the 20th century, as technological innovation speeded up, people dreamed of building huge, gleaming cities. tall, massive architectural structures would signal a sort of coming-of-age, a sense of having arrived at a new, modern age. and so they projected their desires through all forms of media -- movies, books, photographs, paintings... hundreds of years later, it is interesting to see how history has turned out. we now call those somewhat archaic imagination of the future "retro-futuristic". some have accurately predicted the future, some haven't. MY question is, why - when people envision the future - do they always think of the same things? gleaming metal, a sort of neatness in the design, minimalism, arcs, sheer massiveness?

some fascinating images of the future metropolis as was imagined in the past:


September 17, 2009 at 11:50 PM Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you are familiar with sociology. Simmel has a classic piece called "The Metropolis and Mental Life" which basically talks about human antipathy and disassociation as a human reaction of city life.

I understand rustic charm of rural life and living in small towns. But the metropolis is so alluring in its madness.

- k