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Entries in architecture (10)

Thursday
Aug182011

New York's tallest building of the future (1881)

When cartoonist Thomas Nast drew this illustration of future Manhattan for Harper's Weekly in 1881, Trinity Church was the tallest building in New York, with its spire and cross reaching 281 feet into the heavens. Until September of 2001, the North Tower of the World Trade Center stood as the tallest building in the city at 1,368 feet. Today, the Empire State Building is the tallest building in New York at 1,250 feet tall, but with any luck that's likely to change soon(ish).

The much delayed $3.1 billion One World Trade Center (formerly known as the Freedom Tower) will stand on the former site of the World Trade Center as the tallest building in New York at 1,776 feet. It's currently scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013. Let's just say I'm not holding my breath for that date.

Image from the August 27, 1881 Harper's Weekly and the book Predictions: Pictorial Predictions From the Past by John Durant.

Saturday
Jan032009

Horizontal Cities of 2031 (1931)

The December 6, 1931 Daily Capital News and Post-Tribune (Jefferson City, MO) ran a short blurb about Francis Keally's predictions for the city of 2031. Keally (1889-1978) was an architect who worked on the Oregon state capitol building in Salem, which was completed in 1938.

Francis Keally thinks that our future cities will spread out over great areas like monstrous eagles. One hundred years from today we shall have no batteries of skyscrapers to point out to our trans-Atlantic visitors. On the contrary our future cities, because of the aerial eye, will be flat-topped, and two out of every three buildings will serve as some kind of landing area for a super-auto gyroplane or a transcontinental express. What towers there are will be built at a great distance from the airports and will serve as mooring masts for giant dirigibles. The architects of our future aerial cities may have to go back to places like Constantinople and Fez for their inspiration of these future flat-topped aerial cities where one finds a low horizontal character to the entire city, occasionally broken here and there by a praying tower or a minaret.

Francis Keally also had an idea in the August, 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics for glass banks.

Previously on Paleo-Future:
The Family Plane of 2030 A.D. (1930)
Pictures Stately Edifices (1923)

Sunday
Oct142007

Future City: 20 | 21

The Skyscraper Museum, at 39 Battery Place in New York, has an exhibit opening at the end of the month that will certainly interest paleo-futurists.

New York Modern, which opens on October 24 and runs through March 2008, looks back at prophecies of the skyscraper city in the early 20th century when the first dreams of a fantastic vertical metropolis took shape. From the invention of the tall office building and high-rise hotels in the late 19th century, New York began to expand upward, and by 1900, the idea of unbridled growth and inevitably increasing congestion was lampooned in cartoons in the popular press and critiqued by prominent architects and urban reformers.

(Found via Suggested Donation)

See also:
The Metropolis of Tomorrow (1929)
Pictures Stately Edifices (1923)
New London in the Future (1909)
Collier's Illustrated Future of 2001 (1901)
What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)
The Predictions of a 14-Year-Old (Milwaukee Excelsior, 1901)

Sunday
Sep092007

French Prints Show the Year 2000 (1910)

Flying FiremenThe National Library of France (BnF) has an amazing collection of prints from 1910 which depict life in the year 2000. They are credited to Villemard.

There's speculation that they were included with "foodstuffs" of the era, much like the German postcards we looked at back in April.

Car ShoesThe BarberThe Avenue of the OperaA Curiosity
I wonder if the "curiosity" referred to is the horse as an uncommon means of transportation, or the extinction of all animals as referenced in the 1900 Ladies' Home Journal article we looked at a while back.The Electric Train From Paris to BeijingA RescueSpeak to the Caretaker
This image clearly takes its inspiration from another French futurist, Albert Robida, and his book The Twentieth Century.Sentinel Advanced in the HelicopterCyclist ScoutsPhonographic MessageOne For the RoadLady In Her BathroomHeating With RadiumHearing The NewspaperCorrespondence CinemaCars of WarBuilding SiteAt SchoolA Festival of FlowersA Chemical Dinner
It's amazing how long the idea of synthetic food has been with us. Before starting this blog I had assumed that the idea started with the Jetsons.Airship On The Long CourseThe TailorFlying Police

See also:
Postcards Show the Year 2000 (circa 1900)
Evening Fashions of the Year 1952 (1883)
The Air Ship: A Musical Farce Comedy (1898)
Going to the Opera in the Year 2000 (1882)
Collier's Illustrated Future of 2001 (1901)
Predictions of a 14-Year-Old (Milwaukee Excelsior, 1901)
No One Will Walk - All Will Have Wheels (Brown County Democrat, 1900)
The Next Hundred Years (Milwaukee Herold und Seebote, 1901)
What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years (Ladies Home Journal, 1900)
Flying Machines (circa 1885)

Monday
Jun252007

Pictures Stately Edifices (1923)

As promised, we have the first in a long list of predictions found in the February 12, 1923 Bridgeport Telegram (Bridgeport, Connecticut).

Today's excerpt is from architect Thomas Hastings. It's particularly unsettling to read someone from the 1920s writing about the possibility of another World War. I get such a feeling of detachment, as though watching a movie playing out through history.

Architecture expresses the life of each period. Will life a hundred years hence be freer, cleaner, saner? Inevitably the architecture of 2022 will register that. Will civilization relapse perhaps through the medium of another world war, into semi-barbarism? Then barbaric will be the architecture of that time.

There is this much to be said: Steel construction frees architectural design from limitations which masonry necessarily imposed. Thus far the result has been confusion - the one and only real confusion that has ever occurred in a continuous historic succession of architectural developments. But that is because present day architecture steers a wavering course between the Scylla and Charybdis of all modern art; on the one hand, too much archaeology or selection from the past, and on the other hand, too much sterile realism.

Granted a broadened intellectual horizon (and the probability of revolutionizing inventions - even the discovery of forces which we know nothing about now.) the architects of 2022, we can imagine, will be busying themselves with edifices of a statelines and power such as we have only dreamed of hitherto.

See also:
Thinking Men and Women Predict Problems of World Century Hence (1923)
Prelude to a Great Depression (The Chronicle Telegram, 1929)
Part-Time Robot (1923)

Friday
Jun082007

Bubble House (1968)


This French house, designed by Antti Lovag in 1968 and photographed by Ken Sparkes in 2006, is a shining example of paleo-futuristic design.

Many thanks to Richard Green for the link.

See also:
Desolation Row
Desolation Row in Color
Taiwan Has Abandonment Issues

Wednesday
May162007

New York in 1960 (1935)


This cover to the March, 1935 issue of Popular Mechanics purported to illustrate New York City in 1960. The image is featured in the book Out of Time: Designs for the Twentieth-Century Future.

See also:
Amphibian Monorail (Popular Science, 1934)
Commuter Helicopter (1947)