Many designers consider issues such as the future and how we will live and move in the decades to come as incredibly fascinating and inspiring, as we have also seen from yesterday's post focused on the possibility of travelling in style in a flying object designed by Ross Lovegrove.
San Rocco, a magazine produced by a group of architects, designers and photographers, brought together during the 13th Venice International Architecture Biennale a variety of contributors and models displayed on a large table and tackling some of the issues connected with the future. Let's quickly look at four approaches in this post, all suggesting utopian/dystopian projects for the future, at times based on hybrid collaborations between different professionals.
1. Copy/Paste (McKim, Mead & White, Penn Station + Valter Scelsi/Sp10, two interpretative models, Penn Station and the Baths of Caracalla). In order to produce the main waiting room of Penn Station, McKim, Mead & White copied the frigidarium of the Baths of Caracalla and enlarged the structure by 20%. What resulted was a monumental 1910 Beaux-Arts masterpiece. This model by valter Scelsi/Sp10 is slightly reminiscent of the buildings on Star Wars' Planet Tatooine and it is employed to support the idea of automatic architecture for the future, while also raising questions and issues about this project (such as why would someone want to do a station that looks like the Baths of Caracalla and is it necessary to transport the frigidarium of the baths in a 20th century railway station?)
2. In the Crack of Dawn by Matt Mullican and Lawrence Weiner. In 1992 Mullican and Wiener produced a graphic novel without any characters. The only things featured are a couple of axonometric views of a city of some kind and a set of slogans. The graphic novel seems to be about a city that is just about to wake up and the slogans are a sort of broken series of words evoking everything and nothing. Wiener's intervention turns Mullican's world into a real but inhabited city. Rather than presenting the city as a tangible future space, the city here is presented as a project.
3. Vchutemas Studies, Three Interpretative Models by Alice Cattaneo. The Vchutemas (Higher Art and Tecnhical Studios) was founded in Moscow in 1920 and only lasted seven years. Similar in its artistic intents to the Bauhaus, the school had set itself the goal to create a new kind of art that would correspond to the new man who had appeared after the Revolution. Expectations were high, but the studios' failure arrived soon after its launch. The school produced some bizarre models of objects with no precise scope or purpose (are they sculptures or buildings?), collected in this case by Alice Cattaneo to prove that, even though we are not capable to assign them a final aim, their futuristic and fascinating shapes still preserve a great energy.
4. U.F.O. by R. Antoniazzi + baukuh + S. Graziani + A. Martegani + YellowOffice. This is a collaborative project for a church in Hatlehol made by a landscape architect (YellowOffice), an architectural firm (baukuh) and a photographer (Stefano Graziani). The egg-meets-classical temple church looks like a white spaceship and is built on many ideas of more or less dead architects including among the others OMA's Zeebrugge terminal and Lewerentz's Chapel of the Resurrection. The most interesting thing about this project is the fact that it attempts to give shape and make real a hybrid chimera-like building.
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