[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]

Visionary architecture

Related: visionary - architecture - Archizoom - retro-futurism -

Architects: Étienne-Louis Boullée - Jean-Jacques Lequeu

Sites: Bomarzo park, Italy

Drawing by Étienne-Louis Boullée (1728 - 1799)
image sourced here.

The Tower of Babel (1563) - Brueghel

The "Little" Tower of Babel (c. 1563) - Brueghel

Babel by Doré


Visionary architecture is the name given to architecture which exists only on paper or which has visionary qualities. Étienne-Louis Boullée, Claude Nicolas Ledoux and Jean-Jacques Lequeu are one of the earliest examples of the discipline. But the work of Giovanni Battista Piranesi, Antonio Sant'Elia and Buckminster Fuller is also included. In the latter half of the 20th century, there were architectural design movements such as Archigram, Archizoom and Superstudio.

The architectural paintings of Giorgio de Chirico also are sometimes included in this category.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visionary_architecture [Jan 2006]

Visionary Architects: Boulee, Ledoux, Lequeu (2002) - Jean-Claude Lemagny

Visionary Architects: Boulee, Ledoux, Lequeu (2002) - Jean-Claude Lemagny [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The drawings and engravings of the French visionary architects Boullee, Ledoux, and Lequeu lie on the nervous cusp of Neoclassicism and hallucination. The three designed vast, impractical monuments, villas and temples, cathedrals and libraries, incorporating motifs from the classical era informed by the new intellectual freedoms of the Enlightenment. The resulting drawings and plans are like nothing done before or since, and their daring has reverberated through to us in the work of such architects as Speer, Graves, Sant'Elia, and Stirling. --via Amazon.com

See also: visionary - architecture - Futurism

Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983)

Geodesic Dome City (1968) - Buckminster Fuller

Richard Buckminster Fuller had an ambitious idea to place a geodesic dome two miles in diameter and one mile high at its centre over New York City (image above). The most important reason for the dome as far as he was concerned was that it would alter the weather over the city.

The dome would be enormous and inside the dome would be warmer that outside. It would never rain or snow.

Fuller was the first person to coin the phrase 'Spaceship Earth'. He strongly believed that the creative abilities of mankind was unlimited and that the use and development of technology and design-led solutions would create a positive future.

The image of the geodesic dome is as futuristic a design in our modern society as it was when Fuller first created it. The concept of the geodesic dome is used in films and computer games today. --http://www.design-technology.org/page1.htm [Jun 2005]

Richard Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller (July 12, 1895 - July 1, 1983) was an American visionary, designer, architect, and inventor. He was also a professor at Southern Illinois University and a prolific writer. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckminster_Fuller [Jun 2005]

Buckminster Fuller Google gallery

see also: architecture - 1968

Palais Idéal, France

Palais Idéal (1879 - 1924) - Ferdinand Cheval
image sourced here.

Ferdinand Cheval (1836-1924) was a French postman who spent 33 years of his life building an Ideal Castle.

Ferdinand Cheval lived in the Hautes-rives region of the Drome department of France. He had left school at the age of 13 to become a baker's apprentice but eventually became a postman.

Cheval began the building in April 1879. He claimed that he tripped on a stone and was inspired by its shape. He returned to the same spot the next day and begun to collect stones.

For the next 33 years, during his daily mail route, Cheval carried stones from his delivery rounds and at home used them to build his Palais Idéal, the Ideal Castle. First he carried the stones in his pockets, then a basket and eventually a wheelbarrow. He often worked at night in the light of an oil lamp. Locals regarded him as a village idiot.

Cheval spent the first two decades building the outer walls. The Castle is a mix of different styles with inspirations from the Bible to Hindu mythology. Cheval bricked the stones together with lime, wire and cement.

Cheval also wanted to be buried in his castle. When French authorities forbade that, he proceeded to spend eight years building a mausoleum for himself in the cemetery of Hautes-rives. Cheval died August 19, 1924, more than a year after he had finished building it.

Just prior to his death, Cheval began to receive some recognition from the luminaries like André Breton and Pablo Picasso.

In 1969 André Malraux, the contemporary minister of culture, declared the Castle as a cultural landmark and had it officially protected. Cheval's castle is open every day except Christmas Day and New Year's Day. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Cheval [Jun 2005]

outsider - art - architecture

Étienne-Louis Boullée (1728 - 1799)

Étienne-Louis Boullée (February 12, 1728 - February 6, 1799) was a French neoclassical architect whose work greatly influenced contemporary architects and is still influential today. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C9tienne-Louis_Boull%E9e [May 2005]

The Belly of an Architect
The Belly of an Architect is a 1987 movie directed by Peter Greenaway.

Original music by Glenn Branca and Wim Mertens.

The movie contains numerous references to the work of the 18th century French architect Étienne-Louis Boullée. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Belly_of_an_Architect [May 2005]

see also: Peter Greenaway

Nicolas Ledoux

Claude Nicolas Ledoux Théatre de Besançon, vue de l'interieur

Claude Nicolas Ledoux (March 21, 1736-November 18, 1806) was a French neoclassical architect. Known as a Utopian he hoped that urban design and architecture could lead to an ideal society. Despite this his great works were funded by the French monarchy and came to be seen as symbols of the ancien regime. His career was thus curtailed by the French Revolution. In 1804 he published a book on his works titled L'Architecture considérée sous le rapport de l'art, des mœurs et de la législation. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Whatlinkshere/Claude_Nicolas_Ledoux [Jan 2006]

Giorgio de Chirico

Piazza d'Italia (1913) - Giorgio de Chirico, image sourced here.

Giorgio de Chirico (July 10, 1888 - November 20, 1978) was an Italian painter born in Greece, and with Carlo Carra founded the scuola metafisica art movement. He studied art in Munich at the Academy of Fine Arts, where he read the writings of the philosophers Nietzsche and Arthur Schopenhauer and studied the works of Arnold Böcklin and Max Klinger.

De Chirico is best known for the paintings he produced between 1909 and 1919, his Metaphysical period, which are memorable for the haunted, brooding moods evoked by their images. At the start of this period, his subjects were still cityscapes inspired by the bright daylight of Mediterranean cities, but gradually he turned his attention to studies of cluttered storerooms, sometimes inhabited by mannequins.

He won praise for his work almost immediately from the writer Guillaume Apollinaire, who helped to introduce his work to the later Surrealists. Yves Tanguy wrote how one day in 1922 he saw one of de Chirico's paintings in an art dealer's window, and was so impressed by it he resolved on the spot to become an artist -- although he had never even held a brush! Other artists who acknowledged de Chirico's influence include Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, and René Magritte.

De Chirico also published a novel in 1925: Hebdomeros, the Metaphysician. His later paintings never received the same critical praise as did those from his metaphysical period. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giorgio_de_Chirico [Mar 2005]

Palais Bulles (1970) - Antti Lovag

Palais Bulles (1970) - Antti Lovag
image sourced here.

Without obtaining his diploma, architect Antti Lovag (born in Hungary in 1920) defined himself as a "habitologist." Celebrated for the Palais Bulle, a palace facing the bay at Cannes that now belongs to Pierre Cardin, he devised innovative theories regarding the habitat, predicated on the needs of the individual and the notion of self-construction. For Lovag, architecture is a way of life. In the 1960s he was among the first in France to experiment with "organic" architecture, borrowing forms from nature and establishing a close relationship with the natural site. The houses of Antti Lovag, variously described as wombs, caves, caverns and troglodytic dwellings, are both habitable and inhabited; they are also discrete, concealed behind abundant and carefully designed vegetation. For natural integration is one of the architect's credos, accounting for his terracotta colours, which blend unobtrusively into their environment. --http://www.artfifa.com/en/par-titre/view-246.html [Jun 2005]

more organic design here.

Antti Lovag Google gallery

Superstudio : Life without Objects (2003) Peter Lang, William Menking

Superstudio : Life without Objects (2003) Peter Lang, William Menking [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

About the Authors
William Menking is a professor of city and regional planning at Pratt Institute in New York City. He is on the board of directors of the Storefront for Art and Architecture and The Miami Art Project.

Peter Lang has edited the anthologies Mortal City (1995) and Suburban Discipline (1997). Lang is currently a visiting assistant professor in the department of architecture, Texas A&M University.

Founded in Florence in 1966, Superstudio challenged the modernist orthodoxy that architecture and technological advances could improve the world by creating alternative visions of the future in photo-montages, sketches, collages and films. The five members of Superstudio: Cristiano Toraldo di Francia, Gian Piero Frassinelli, Alessandro Magris, Roberto Magris and Adolfo Natalini-were equally pessimistic about politics and its ability to solve mounting social, cultural and environmental problems. This Fall 2003 New York exhibition catalogue, drawn from Superstudio's archive and curated in collaboration with members of the group, will revisit its work and trace its influence on subsequent generations of architects. --Book Description via Amazon.com

Superstudio: Life without Objects collects nearly 200 of the group's most important images, collages, storyboards and critical writings. White monuments crossing over entire landscapes and cities, vast grid groundplanes spreading over infinite beaches populated by wandering hippies: these are some of the more evocative images that consolidated their fame as vanguard architects. In 1972, MoMA invited them to participate in one of the largest exhibitions in its history, built around Italian design and architecture. With essays from Peter Lang and William Menking, the book is designed to provide the reader with the most detailed account of this avant-garde design group and their lively assault on modernism.

[S]uperstudio's response was to develop its 'Anti-Design' projects: themes from which were echoed in the work of other radical architects and designers, notably the members of Archizoom, a fellow Florentine group consisting of Andrea Branzi, Gilberto Corretti, Paolo Deganello, Dario and Lucia Bartolini and Massimo Morozzi. Both groups were founded in 1966 and their first important project was to express their theories about the crisis of modernism in the Superarchitecture exhibition in Pistoia, Italy. A year later, they refined the ideas aired in Superarchitecture in a joint follow-up show in Modena. --http://www.designmuseum.org/designerex/superstudio.htmw [Jul 2004]

Archigram (1999) - Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Archigram

Archigram (1999) - Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Archigram [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

"In late 1960, in various flats in Hampstead, a loose group of people started to meet: to criticize projects, to concoct letters to the press, to make competition projects, and generally prop one another up against the boredom of working in London architectural offices. The main British magazines of the time did not publish student work and Archigram was responding to this as much as to the sterility of the scene. The title Archigram came from the notion of a more simple and urgent item than a Journal, like a telegram or aerogramme - hence, "archi(tecture)-gram.""--BOOK JACKET.

"This facsimile edition of a book originally published in 1972 is a chronicle of the work of Archigram as told by the members themselves. It includes material published in early issues of the Journal, as well as numerous essays, comics, collages, poems, and fantastical architecture projects. The book is updated with a new introduction from longtime member Mike "Spider" Webb."--BOOK JACKET.

The Inflatable Moment: Pneumatics and Protest in '68 (1999) - Marc Dessauce

The Inflatable Moment: Pneumatics and Protest in '68 (1999) - Marc Dessauce, Architectural League of New York [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

To a group of architecture students at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the turbulent year 1968, the idea of the inflatable held a promise of mobility, movement, energy, and escape. Seeking to overturn the inertia and oppression that they believed characterized mainstream architecture, the Utopie group (as they called themselves) designed a series of pneumatic buildings, furniture, and environments, all heavily influenced by American military structures and comic books as well as by the work of Buckminster Fuller, Henri Lefebvre, Jean Baudrillard, and London's Archigram. Though Utopie architects Jean Aubert, Jean-Paul Jungmann, and Antoine Stinco were unable to realize their dream of a society literally built on air, their fanciful, exuberant, witty, and highly detailed drawings remain some of the most extraordinary in modern architecture. The Inflatable Moment documents this fascinating intersection of architectural, social, and political history, as it presents a complete, annotated catalog of the designs of the Utopie architects alongside similar structures from the period. Essays on the pneumatic phenomenon and the intellectual history of the Utopie group are supplemented by reflections by the three architects, each written especially for this book. --Book Description via Amazon.com

About the Author
Marc Dessauce, a New York-based architectural historian, is the author of Machinations and a former contributor to Casabella.

Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations 1956-76 (2005) - Martin Van Schaik (Editor), Otakar Macel (Editor)

Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations 1956-76 (2005) - Martin Van Schaik (Editor), Otakar Macel (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Book Description
This topical examination of a key moment in modern architecture pointedly and critically evaluates the role of the neo-avant-garde in today’s world.

International in scope and exhaustive in detail, the book explores important exponents of "visionary" and "utopian" architecture in the closing juncture of the modernist era, coinciding with the cultural upheavals and social transformations of the 1960s and ’70s. By revisiting "New Babylon," the magnum opus of the Dutch painter Constant Nieuwenhuys, whose vision of a situationist urban environment made him one of the most influential artists of this time, this collection of essays re-examines decisive work by Yona Friedman, the Archigram group, the Italian Radicals Superstudio and Archizoom, Koolhaas/Zenghelis and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, and Léon Krier. Timely, in-depth essays and exhaustive project documentations trace the decline of avant-garde projects in architecture. The result is a significant work of architectural theory and history, which will interest anyone studying ideologies of the past and dreaming the cities of tomorrow. --from the publisher

New Babylon (after 1956) - Constant Nieuwenhuys
Image sourced here.

See also: visionary architecture - modern architecture - architecture - utopia - radical - avant-garde - 1960s - 1970s - Superstudio - Archigram - Archizoom

your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

Managed Hosting by NG Communications