Futuristic Architecture: A Lesson In Sterility
Futurologists may have conflicting opinions and visions of where we are going, but they all agree that the future will be very different. But unlike current architecture, it seems that ecclecticism will not be tolerated in the future.
In look at architecture, and specifically futuristic architecture, it seems that things will be very different in the future. The shapes and colors that show up in futuristic designs are often portrayed as sterile, cold with either hard lines or flowing, organic shapes. And most of the architectural exploits are real wonders. The concepts of fluidity and organic constructions are fully embraced. Advancements in science and technology have allowed us to visualize a world where are not necessarily bound by old conventions.
But where futuristic architecture truly shines in non-conformity with the past, it lacks in another aspect: detail. Architects and designers of the past had a keen sense of flair and decoration. If you either look at Baroque or Roman architecture you’ll see that grandeur and luxury was both a function of aesthetics, but also a way to tell a story.
When you break down large structure, the shapes are pretty ordinary. The bigger the structure is, the bigger the walls, ceilings and floors become as well. At this point decoration becomes an important tool to ensure the shapes remain interesting. The contemporary answer is generally that modernism equals minimalism. This could possibly explain the lack of diversity of many of the futuristic designs. But according to most futurologists in the future we will work and live in large architectural shapes with as little decoration as possible.
Granted, most futuristic architecture is far removed from the Soviet’s brutal concrete monotonous monoliths from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. Large gray concrete walls and shapes without any semblance of emotion, quirkiness and risk.
If there is one thing that our architectural past has taught us is that we look back before we look forward. We draw inspiration from the past in order to create future. People love traveling to London, Paris and Rome to see the wealth of architecture. People visit Kyoto to visit the mesmerizing architecture of the many temples. I fail to believe that the future will be without its fair share of architectural trends, but I don’t see that reflected yet in futuristic architecture.
Architectural monotony is amplified if it lacks personality and emotion. Where is the cultural influence when it comes to futuristic architecture? The archetypical roof structure of ancient Japanese temples could translated into futuristic design. Combine the old conventions with the advent of new materials and possibilities.
I hope that the concept of decorations will be re-embraced by architects. Use the wealth of cultural art to incorporate it into architecture. Divergent thinking will allow architects to re-envision the future by using scientific expertise to create new solutions. Re-imagine the concept of aesthetic facades and use abstraction where required.