After being awarded the prestigious Silver Lion for his contribution to this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous shows no signs of slowing down. Currently in the midst of preparing his entry to the next Sharjah Architecture Triennial, he also recently celebrated the opening of Climate Futurism, a group exhibition that highlights the power and efficacy of artists’ methods and processes to imagine a more equitable future – and is working on a public monument to former United States Representative Shirley Chisholm as part of New York City's She Built NYC initiative, among other projects.
Utopia: The Latest Architecture and News
Utopian Practice, Political Power, and Community in Architecture: An Interview with Olalekan Jeyifous
Nowadays, the term “utopia” is used to describe an idea that seems unattainable —at least in the contemporary context— intrinsically related to philosophical, scientific, urbanistic, and architectural concepts, among others. The close connection between utopias and architecture is evident, as this discipline is often associated with imagination. Some notable examples include “The Unreliable Utopia of Auroville's Architecture” and “The City in Space: A Utopia” by Ricardo Bofill. In this context, architects and designers alike use design as a means to develop innovative and disruptive ideas through various elements.
Although considered an idealized concept that does not exist, some designers have ventured into exploring the notion of utopia. AXOR, in conjunction with the Valencia-based design studio Masquespacio, has turned the page by conceiving and bringing to reality a new bathroom concept for a unique hotel suite that embodies their vision of personal luxury. Titled “Utopian Dream”, this design response blends vibrant colors with unexpected details, a combination that this duo defines as a mystic experience above the clouds.
Penelope Haralambidou's project 'City of Ladies' studies 'The Book of the City of Ladies', 1405, by Italian/French medieval author Christine de Pizan (1364 – c.1430). The text is part of a compilation assembled for Queen Isabeau of Bavaria between 1410 – 1414 (Harley MS 4431) the largest surviving collected manuscript of her works and one of the foundation manuscripts at the British Library. In the book, de Pizan describes her visitation by three female Virtues, Reason, Rectitude and Justice, who commission her with the construction of an imaginary city inhabited solely by women. Conflating the act of writing a book
Antonio Serrano and Madrid-based Mad Lab have designed a collection of everyday objects inspired by Renaissance concepts of “Utopia.” The set of trays, boxes, and centerpieces are made from inlay maple and cedar wood, each telling “stories of entrepreneurship, design, craft, and technology.”
The collection, which manifests as a form of “scaled-down city,” considers Utopia as an imagined reflection on reality, rather than a yearning for an ideal city. The objects are full of “nods, winks, and gestures that leave us trapped in an illusion of a dream” conveyed through Renaissance architectural elements such as arches and spires.
across, beyond, through :: critique, fantasy, technology
In a design proposal for Soprema’s new company headquarters in Strasbourg, France, Vincent Callebaut Architectures envisions an 8,225 square-meter ecological utopia. The building, called Semaphore, is described in the program as a “green flex office for nomad co-workers” and is dedicated to urban agriculture and employee well-being.
An eco-futuristic building, Semaphore is inspired by biomimicry and intended as a poetic landmark, as well as aiming to serve as a showcase for Soprema’s entire range of insulation, waterproofing, and greening products. The design is an ecological prototype of the green city of the future, working to achieve a symbiosis between humans and nature.
Since the start of time, we humans have been captivated by the mystical nature of other celestial bodies surrounding our Planet Earth. This fascination has been translated to works of astronomy, astrology, architecture and many other studies from making a simple telescope to humankind’s first steps on the Moon. This unending drive for exploration has today led us to understanding our neighboring solar systems and galaxies, thousands of light years away.
While Moshe Safdie may be more well known for the bold forms defining his portfolio of built projects—ranging from the National Gallery of Canada and the horizontal Raffles City Chongqing to the iconic Habitat 67—the architect considers his unbuilt works as important, if not more. Safdie ponders the role of these projects and more in PLANE-SITE’s latest addition to the series Time-Space-Existence.
How can we plan a better city? The answer has confounded architects and urban planners since the birth of the industrial city. One attempt at answering came in the form of a spectacular modernist proposal outside of Amsterdam called the Bijlmermeer. And, as a new two-part episode by 99% Invisible reveals, it failed miserably. But, like all histories, the story is not as simple as it first appears.
The topic for this year’s symposium is Artificial Natures, ranging from classical ones, such as parks and ideal cities, to garden cities, to new “natural “ environments like social media spaces as new public place. The symposium will take place as a combination of short panels and workgroups.
Ideasforward wants to give young creative people from around the world the opportunity to express their views on the future of societies through their innovative and visionary proposals. We are an experimental platform seeking progressive ideas that reflect on emerging themes. The eco-design, sustainable architecture, new materials, concepts, and technologies are compelling issues in the societies of the future and the involvement of the whole community is imperative.
The Minnesota Experimental City (MXC)—a utopian plan for the city of the future that was decades ahead of its time, and yet is surprisingly little-known—was the brainchild of the urban planner and technocrat Athelstan Spilhaus. Spilhaus was a man who saw science as the solution to the problems of the world, and became a public figure presenting his ideas of utopia in everyday life through his comic strip "Our New Age." During the mid-1960s, he conceived an ambitious plan to condense his ideas into a prototype for future cities that would be both noiseless and fumeless, accommodating America's growing population and their by-products.
A new documentary, The Experimental City, explores the development, and ultimately, failure of the MXC's vision for future settlements. Using retro film clips, it takes us back in time to a period where Spilhaus' predictions of computers that can fit into your home and remote banking appeared more of a fantasy than reality. The film is directed by Chad Freidrichs (known also for his 2011 film The Pruitt-Igoe Myth) and was premiered at the Chicago Film Festival, in conjunction with the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Several further screenings will be taking place across the country, including at DOC NYC on November 16th.
Striking Easily Assembled Cabins Will become Symbols for Shelter and Safety Along Remote Trekking Paths
Stockholm-based architecture firm Utopia Arkitekter has designed Skýli, they are bright blue cabins that are popping up in one of the world's most beautiful landscape. The idea came from a desire to develop a structure which could be easily placed along some of the most famous trekking trails in Iceland. Not only are the lodges striking and beautiful in itself, they can be easily constructed and are built to withstand the harshest weather conditions.
Since 2007, American photographer Jade Doskow has been documenting the remains of World’s Fair sites, once iconic global attractions that have often been repurposed for less noble aspirations or neglected and fallen into decay. Lost Utopias brings together the substantial body of work that Doskow has completed over the past decade, including iconic monuments such as the Seattle Space Needle, the Eiffel Tower, Brussels’ Palais des Expositions and New York’s Unisphere.