100 Years On
January marked the one year anniversary of the earthquake which struck Haiti, absolutely devastating the country. Pictures have shown aerial views of Port-au-Prince before the earth quake, when it hit, and one year on, showing the development of “instant cities” in the open spaces- one year on the urban fabric of the city has completely been altered, and as architects and a whole host of industries work to rebuild the city, the place will take on a different form and character. Many of us will consider some cities as timeless and permanent, but in the face of natural disaster and our own consumption can any architecture be considered permanent?
If we are to look back at the past century, the cities in which many of us live have evolved and changed drastically, often out of all recognition, and sometime even springing out of nothing. Who knows what forms society might have to take in the coming century, and how might that effect our built environment? Recently our competitions have focussed on what could really be considered micro architecture, and empathy for particular groups of people in need, but now we are looking at the macro, and inviting you to explore issues that we will potentially all face.
We are asking you envisage a particular city in 100 years time. With the complete unpredictability of natural disasters has it been permanently devastated, or been reborn and flourished? Has it succumbed to the threat of global warming and rising seas, or is it groaning under the weight of a massive population boom? What landmarks will remain, if any, and how will the new culture have adapted these to meet new needs? We want you to experiment, set your imagination free, and display your ideas in the best way you can on an A3 image.
There are many aspects to explore, so don’t feel constrained to the questions we have posed to get you thinking. You can choose any city you like- perhaps where you live or an iconic place- and think how it will develop over the next century. We are not necessarily looking for beautifully rendered images of cities, or even large panoramas or cityscapes, your entry could depict a single aspect or view within the city.
Congratulations to Grant Erskine Architects (www.granterskinearchitects.com) , who sent us the panel above, and who we have selected as our winner.
Here is what Grant Erskine of Grant Erskine Architects has to say about it.…
Some of the most interesting and influential books we have read in recent memory are the Shrinking Cities: Complete Works 1+2 and The Atlas of Shrinking Cities. These books, as part of the greater Shrinking Cities movement, have illustrated not only the causes and impact of decay in the modern city, but more importantly the resilience and ingenuity of humanity. They offer a pessimistic view of the future, but an optimistic view of mans ability to adapt and survive.
It is often suggested that society will decay into some form of a dystopia, such as those reflected in the movies that we all enjoy: Metropolis (1927) Bladerunner (1982), Brazil (1985), I am legend (2007). However, what these movies often fail to reflect upon is the strength and resilience of man and society. Looking back through history, humanity has endured several eras of adversity both natural and man-made – but has always survived. It is for this reason that we approached this project from an optimistic position. With rising fuel costs caused by dwindling supply and international social and economic unrest, it is obvious to us that we are quickly approaching the end of an era. Humanity’s dependence on the car and van will have to be readdressed. It will raise several interesting questions. How do we travel? How far can we travel? How far can we transport perishable foods? How do we handle waste? If you think of everything that is transported into and out of a city, and imagine a future where this is no longer possible, you begin to imagine the problems we will have to address. How will we survive? How will we re-interpret our surroundings in order to live? How will we reimagine the city and adapt it to our needs?
The initial interest of dealing with such a complex urban structure as New York came about from reading the work of Ada Louise Huxtable and Marshall Berman. Both have strong opinions and insights into the urban planing that went on in New York in the latter half of the 20th Century. Their opinions mostly surround the plans that were in place to build giant 10-lane expressways through New York City such as the “South Bronx Expressway” and the “Lower-Manhattan Expressway”. The plans for these never came into realisation but the very notion of the plans were so detrimental to the neighbourhoods that nobody wanted to live or work in the areas affected My vision of New York is a positive response that moves away from these anti-social ideas of transport and urban planning.My vision for the city is that developments in ideas on transport, public space, and green space all meld into one scheme that hopefully means people enjoy the infrastructure that the city is built on, instead of being slaves to it.
Tommy McCaughan, Kent, England. This entry is accompanied by a poem which is also by Tommy-
Years have blurredThird Reich visionsEagles scourSunken prisonsFlown from iconReanimated lifeEuropean wideDubrovnik’s strifeDon’t lose your mindGo out lateBeneath the groundThose awaiting fateClocks don’t moveCoz prisoners don’t lookClawed to deathBy eagle hookNo time to improveOr gain releaseHide your religionSearch out inner peaceSpeech in whispersAvoid other eyesLook out for the murderersLook out for the spiesErode your moralsFeeding attemptFight the rulesMake self exemptProtect your youngEncase in iceTransport by carDo nothing twiceLet no others visitAnd hug your sonSpeak of the positivesDon’t let tears comeTotalitarian ruleQuietly wait your turnThere is no futureEurope will not learn