comparing utopias

The 49 Cities exhibithion at Storefront Gallery for Art and Architecture, New York, seeks to provide a comparitive datascape for unrealised urbanism. The proposal, born out of Work AC‘s research seminar at Princeton University concerned with ‘eco-urbanism’, began as one that considered the contemporary city, but rapidly acknowledged the role of the unbuilt utopian models on modern urban form; the work of Ebeneezer Howard, le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright perhaps most influential in this regard.

Using a standardised method of representation, the exhibition and catalogue convey with great visual acuity and clarity the characteristics of each model city. The built area, density, greenspace and infrastructure are all considered in their component parts and presented in a tabular form alongside the diagrammed plans of the respective cities. The back of the publication holds bar charts wherein the values of these parameters are overtly comparable. An incredibly simple idea, very well controlled and executed with consistency.

The book may be purchased here. There is also a 20 page PDF sample for free at the same address.

Site plan for Noahbabel. Coastal Waters, 1969 (Paolo Soleri). Image from Storefront. Copyright Work AC

Site plan for Tokyo Bay. Tokyo, 1960 (Kenzo Tange). Image from Storefront. Copyright Work AC