Now there’s some top-end sci-fi architecture criticism. About Modernism, no less, and by no less a man than the legendary J. G. Ballard.
“All of us have our dreams to reassure us. Architecture is a stage set where we need to be at ease in order to perform. Fearing ourselves, we need our illusions to protect us, even if the protection takes the form of finials and cartouches, corinthian columns and acanthus leaves. Modernism lacked mystery and emotion, was a little too frank about the limits of human nature and never prepared us for our eventual end.”
It’s entirely possible to write “architecture fiction” instead of “science fiction.” Like, say, Archigram did in the 60s.
“Plug-in City”, “Living Pod”, “Instant City” and “Ad Hoc”. “Manzak”, “Suitaloon”, “Cushicle”, “Blow out Village”, “Gasket Homes” and the “Walking City.”
You read this wayout Archigram stuff nowadays and it’s surprising how thoughtful, humane and sensible it seems.
I even wrote some architecture fiction myself, once.
Get Walker Reader in your inbox. Sign up to receive first word about our original videos, commissioned essays, curatorial perspectives, and artist interviews.