The World According to Architecture

John Hill
18. June 2020
City of 7 Billion by PlanB (Joyce Hsiang and Bimal Mendis), 2015-2019. (All images courtesy of the MIT Press)

The World as an Architectural Project is a recently published book written by Venice Architecture Biennale curator Hashim Sarkis and Roi Salgueiro Barrio with Gabriel Kozlowski. It details 50 projects over more than 100 years, all of them seeing architects thinking at the scale of the planet. Here we highlight images of a dozen projects in the book.

Although most of the projects in The World as an Architectural Project are far from practical — "an extraterrestrial, inhabited ring" that turns our planet into "Saturnia"! — they all serve as precedents for architects thinking big, well beyond the confines of a typical building commission. Released in May, amongst the lockdown orders that ironically kept people at home but united them through a shared global condition, the book can be seen as 50 templates of reimagining the world after COVID-19. 

In The World, architects tackle ecological problems, social concerns, energy issues, and much more. They propose, among other things, worlds off the Earth, our globe covered with cities, super-dense cities, and linear cities — lots of linear cities. The scholarly text that fills half the book offers a lot to ponder, but the images that comprise the other half make the book a visual feast of architectural imagination.

The Outlook Tower by Patrick Geddes, 1892-1906. Prototype of the “Hollow Celestial Sphere,” Paul Louis Albert Galeron, ca. 1900.
Aero-Cities by Lazar Khidekel, 1925-1930. Design for a Futuristic City Above Water, 1925.
The City of the Future by Georgii Krutikov, 1928. 
Saturnia by Viktor Kalmykov, 1929.
Airocean World Map and Geoscope by R. Buckminster Fuller, Shoji Sadao, and John McHale, 1943-1965. Man’s Increasing Vertical Mobility, 1963.
Marine Cities by Kiyonori Kikutake, 1958-1975. Sketch of Marine City, 1963.
Imaginary Cities by Raimund Abraham, 1961-1967. Air Ocean City, Perspective, 1966.
The Continuous City by Alan Boutwell and Michael Mitchell, 1968-1971. Continuous city for 1,000,000,000 human beings, 1969.
Gates by Juan Navarro Baldeweg, 1971-1975. Proposal for the Increasing of Ecological Experiences, Transferring ecosystems, 1972. 
Fundamental Acts by Superstudio, 1972-1973. Five Fundamental Acts: Education, 1972.
Extreme Territories of Urbanization by Neil Brenner and Urban Theory Lab, 2011-. Extreme Territories of Urbanization: Sahara, 2013.
The World as an Architectural Project

The World as an Architectural Project
Hashim Sarkis and Roi Salgueiro Barrio with Gabriel Kozlowski

6.5 in x 9.5 in
576 Pages
280 Illustrations
Hardcover
ISBN 9780262043960
The MIT Press
Purchase this book

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