Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The future of architecture is now ... at the Barbican Centre

Future City: Experiment and Utopia in Architecture 1956-2006 exhibtion at the Barbican Art Gallery (running until 17 September 2006) features lots of good stuff and asks its viewers, "What would it be like to live in a hairy house, a floating city, or an inflatable pod? Pure fantasy or the shape of things to come?" Good questions but, um, let me think about it. The problem with the exhibition is that, as with the above quote, it's just one long list of questions with hardly any breathing room to fully ponder any of its components and come up with one's own answers.

Much like the V&A's Modernism exhibition (
click here for that review), Future City falls victim to its own ambition. A half century of architecture is a lot to take in. Twenty-five years, a decade, or one specific vein of experimental and/OR(!) utopian architecture might have allowed for a more engaging experience. From long-winded explanations of long-winded ideas by the likes of Guy DeBord to overly large images of Pierre Cardin's bubble house near Cannes, Future City is too much to take in at once.

Still there are good pieces, such as Kurksawa's Floating City and Koolhaas's Delirious New York, worthy of a viewing. And to see it at the much-maligned and futurist (in a 1970's kinda way) Barbican seemed most appropriate.

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