Cities of the Future

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Metropolis KL 2210 by skian-winterfyre

What do you think your favorite city will look like in one hundred years?

Architect Rem Koolhaas has completed a “vertical city” complex in Rotterdam, bringing a new style of multi–purpose skyscrapers to the city skyline. Bennett Stein wrote about the new buildings for KCRW’s Design & Architecture blog, calling the creator “the Godzilla of architecture.”

Here’s an excerpt from Stein’s essay:

It’s a diva of biomimetics—you swear it’s a living, sentient thing that watches you as you watch it. And it loves itself so much it’s looking in the mirror all the time–wait a minute, it is a mirror. The building has a reflective shiny exterior of glass and steel which is repeated on the interior in planes of reflective glass and steel.

— Bennett Stein

We love imagining what the future will look like and how we will tell stories in this new world.

These new buildings are one vision of our future cities. On a page celebrating the completion of the massive complex, the architecture firm described the new design:

The three stacked and interconnecting towers of De Rotterdam rise 44 floors to a height of 150 meters and span a width of over 100 meters… Office employees, residents and hotel guests are brought together in conference, sport and restaurant facilities. The building’s shared plinth is the location of the lobbies to each of the towers, creating a pedestrianized public hub by means of a common hall.

Stein compared the building to the work of Swiss architect Le Corbusier. The 20th Century architect imagined rebuilding Paris with “tall, concrete cruciform towers set in green, wooded parks.”

In a famous essay about the future of the city, Le Corbusier wrote:

We must create a mass-production state of mind:

A state of mind for building mass–production housing.

A state of mind for living in mass–production housing.

A state of mind for conceiving mass–production housing.

Could you live in this kind of city? Or do you hope for a different kind?

There has always been a prejudice against the vertical (How many stories?) in favor of the horizontal (How many square feet, miles, acres?) in this competitive egos society in which more counts for more than better.

Men like big numbers.

As the generations and genders evolve slowly to higher fields of perceived self–worth, the zeitgeist is forever changing, And as always, this is reflected in our trends in architecture. Bravo to better living through functional ecologically inter–engineered working and recreating spaces. How many acres of unused plains dust in Texas constitutes George W.’s “ranch?” I’m sure it’s an impressively large number. I’d prefer to reach for the stars in my life unit not using up any more space and resources than is necessary for my happy, healthy, creative existence.

Your Thoughts

  1. Do you do any sketching/painting/designing/inventing of buildings and architecture? What sorts of things? Have you ever built anything three dimensionally?

  2. What is your hometown like (city, suburb, rural, etc.) and has it influenced your interest in being an artist?

  3. What do you think of the architecture of cities and their influence on our everyday lives?

  4. What is your favorite building in the world and why?

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I think suburbs will go extinct. That human dwellings will be split along class lines. With the poor and middle classes being pressed into cities. While wealthy people can afford houses in the country. Farming will become much more vertical. At least if nuclear power is used to power the new cities.