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architecture - retro - futurism - Googie space age
Still from Aelita, The Queen of Mars (1924) -Yakov Protazanov
Retro-futurism describes the return to the to fanciful depictions of the future produced many years ago called futurology. These may be based on a lack of scientific knowledge and a great deal of imagination and speculation.
A great deal of attention is drawn to fantastic machines and architecture, the logistics of which are realistically impractical. The retro-futuristic design ethic tends to solid colors, streamlined shapes, and mammoth scales. It might be said that retro-futurism is the ultimate development of googie design.
The setting retro-futuristic stories is usually a utopian society; its spirit of optimism and embracing of the status-quo is a complete contrast with cyberpunk. Retro-futurism is also different from steampunk, although the two had things in common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when modern technology as we know it was still young.
Retro-futurism has appeared in some examples of postmodern architecture. In the example seen at right, the upper portion of the building is not intended to be integrated with the building but rather to appear as a separate object - a huge flying saucer-like space ship only incidentally attached to a conventional building. This appears intended not to evoke an even remotely possible future, but rather a past imagination of that future - perhaps as seen in the science fiction movies of the 1950's or the pulp novels and comics of the 1930's. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retro-futurism [May 2005]
Frank R. Paul
City of the future (1942) - Frank R. Paul
Frank Rudolph Paul (1884 - 1963) was an Austrian-born illustrator of US pulp-magazines in the science fiction field. A discovery of Hugo Gernsback (himself an immigrant from Luxemburg), Frank R. Paul was very influential in defining what both cover art and interior illustrations in the nascent science fiction pulps of the 1920s looked like. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_R._Paul [Feb 2005]
Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future (1996) - Joseph J. Corn, Brian Horrigan, Katherine Chambers
Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future (1996) - Joseph J. Corn, Brian Horrigan, Katherine Chambers [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
From Book News, Inc.
A fun and often funny look at how popular science magazines, science fiction, world fair exhibits, films, and advertisements looked at their future and our present. Originally published to accompany a Smithsonian Institution exhibition of the same name in 1984, the collection is marked with Smithsonian style and collects an awesome representation of photographs and illustrations representing "the future's" cities, homes, transportation, and weapons. We're woefully far away from living room furniture that can be cleaned with a hose, but the space shuttle comes pretty close to its ideal. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
"Many books might be commended as entertaining, instructive, or even fascinating. Yesterday's Tomorrows deserves each of these adjectives... The reader is taken through a gallery populated with forgotten industrial prototypes, architectural models, toy ray guns, flying cavalrymen on 'helihorses,' science fiction props from Hollywood and, or course, all sorts of projects and renderings concerning transportation."-- Road and Track
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