While some people are constantly looking for ways to improve the practical design of all sorts of items, it's also very easy to fall into a rut where a particular object's design is deemed "good enough" and left to languish for decades, if not longer. (When was the last time you saw a major redesign of, say, an Amtrak train in the United States?)
One arena where this design laziness runs rampant is in the creation of skyscrapers and other large public buildings. So many modern skyscrapers are nothing but big black boxes. Yes, it's easy to point out celebrated public projects by the likes of William Pereira, Rem Koolhaas and Frank Gehry, but for every Transamerica Pyramid, Seattle Public Library and EMP Building there are dozens, if not hundreds, of boring rectangles. And it doesn't have to be that way.
|The Osteon Cumulus Vertical City, proposed for Wuxi City, China|
Geeking out and slavering for more? Let me steer you toward the eVolo website.* Here you'll find wondrous examples of modern-to-futuristic architecture, art and design (plus a raft of really cool pens for the amateur calligraphers out there). eVolo also holds a yearly skyscraper design competition where many of the winning entries read like something out of science fiction, but they're meant to be actual architectural projects.
If everything worthwhile has to be designed before it's made, then that includes the future. It means we have to take active part in determining what our future will look like, how it's designed, how it will operate. And creating a truly futuristic architecture means thinking -- and building -- literally as well as figuratively outside the box.
* No, eVolo didn't pay me anything to recommend their website. I just think they're nifty.