The World as an Architectural Project
576 pp., 7 x 10 in, 230 color illus., 50 line drawings
- Published: March 31, 2020
- Publisher: The MIT Press
Architects imagine the planet: fifty speculative world-scale projects from Patrick Geddes, Alison and Peter Smithson, Kiyonori Kikutake, Juan Navarro Baldeweg, Luc Deleu, and others.
The world's growing vulnerability to planet-sized risks invites action on a global scale. The World as an Architectural Project shows how for more than a century architects have imagined the future of the planet through world-scale projects. With fifty speculative projects by Patrick Geddes, Alison and Peter Smithson, Kiyonori Kikutake, Saverio Muratori, Takis Zenetos, Sergio Bernardes, Juan Navarro Baldeweg, Luc Deleu, and many others, documented in text and images, this ambitious and wide-ranging book is the first compilation of its kind.
Interestingly, architects begin to address the world as a project long before the advent of contemporary globalism and its assorted anxieties. The Spanish urban theorist and entrepreneur Arturo Soria y Mata, for example, in 1882 envisions a system that connects the entire planet in a linear urban network. In 1927, Buckminster Fuller's “World Town Plan—4D Tower” proposes to solve global housing problems with mobile structures delivered and installed by a Zeppelin. And Joyce Hsiang and Bimal Mendis visualize the conditions of a worldwide “City of Seven Billion” in a 2015–2019 project. Rather than indulging the cliché of the megalomaniac architect, this volume presents a discipline reflecting on its own responsibilities.
Informative, inspirational, refreshing, this elegantly articulated book is a timely reminder of architects' commitment to the global commons and an appeal for re-engagement with the multiple layers of global issues.
M. Christine Boyer, William R. Kenan Jr. Professor School of Architecture Princeton University, author of Not Quite Architecture Writings Around Alison and Peter Smithson
The World as an Architectural Project gathers together some of the most visually stunning and important urban architectural projects of the last 150 years and makes a compelling case for the agency of architecture itself as a mode of thinking and operating in the world that is projective, inter-scalar, and relational.
Eve Blau, Director of Research and Adjunct Professor of the History and Theory of Urban Form and Design at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
Like World War II, the coronavirus pandemic has deeply unsettled society, and the aftermath may provide a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reimagine civilization. There is abundant knowledge to be found in the past century-and-a-half of visionary architecture, and there are many pertinent questions, both intended and inadvertent. As we begin the process of rebuilding, The World as an Architectural Project is a cognitive toolkit we all need.