I, for one, could use a Soma holiday right about now. But since I can’t, these nine incredible architectural projects built by the likes of Frank Lloyd Wright and Walt Disney to usher in an age of perfect, classless society will have to do.
Ebenezer Howard Garden City, 1902
Howard was one of the few people to see some of his ideas become a reality, with the development of garden cities in Welwyn and Hampstead, in the UK.
Frank Lloyd Wright — Broadacre City
An acre for each family in this bucolic vision of utopia. This was one of several utopian schemes developed by Wright.
Progress City – Walt Disney Utopia
Disney conceived of a very ambitious utopian city between 1962 and 1966, however it was abandoned after his death and the only elements that remain are in Epcot.
Le Corbusier’s utopian plan to demolish Paris
Corbusier is arguably the world’s most famous architect and one of his contributions to the subject was to propose bulldozing the world’s most famous architecture for his lunatic Plan Voisin for Paris.
No wonder architects have a bad name.
Charles Fourier’s Phalanstere
Fourier’s idea was essentially a palatial commune where wings radiated outwards from a quiet centre to noisier wings for workshops and children. Not quite by accident it is the same form as used for lunatic asylums of the period. Fourier though that women were more likely to be emancipated if they were freed from the chores of running a traditional house. Several of these phalanx-based schemes were actually built in the US.
The Phallic Oikema in Ledoux’s Plan for the utopian town of Chaux
The Oikema wasn’t an architectural joke, but a serious proposal for a templ of pleasure, read brothel, at the heart of Ledoux’s plan for a utopian town near his royal salt works project
112km north of Phoenix, Arcosanti, named after the concept of arcology, a portmanteau of architecture and ecology is an attempt at an ecologically sound community founded in 1970 by the architect Paolo Soleri. Although only a handful of people live there there have been plans for a city of 5000 and at the very least it is an heroic failure.
The setting for the movie, The Truman Show, like Poertmeirion, Seaside, Florida, a planned community built by Robert S David is either utopian or kitsch depending on your viewpoint.
On the surface, it’s perfect, but its too perfect and lacks history or grit while attempting to be both authentic and respectful of traditional architecture.
Known worldwide for the setting of “The Village” in the 1967 British TV series, “The Prisoner” Portmeirion was an idealised town based on Mediterranean Italian villages such as Portofino. It has a style somewhere between a model village and a theme park and although kitsch in detail is unarguably an attractive, organic layout.