Friday, 12 April 2013

The City for Three Million Inhabitants

The city for three million inhabitants is (pretty much) deserted. People would ruin it wouldn't they? Draw them in and you'd have to characterise them, and show them doing things, and then soon enough you haven't got utopia, you've got one of those happy smiling covers of non-conformist religious magazines. That's the funny thing about utopia, it's got to be empty to be ideal or rather, as above, you've got to have it all to yourself, surveying from the rooftop. Le Corbusier was asked to design lamp post or something, he said I'll design you a lamp post if I can draw a city for three million inhabitants behind it. So that's what he did, and he forgot about the lamp post.
Smiling people, especially too many smiling people, would ruin it. Because utopia is not what you want, but what's right. Now there's a brutal thought. Colin Rowe is drawn to this platonic paradox in his essay 'Utopia' but I don't think he goes far enough, not in to the abyss; that architecture is one thing and getting a building made is another, or rather, let me draw you a picture; if we were putting anybody in our drawings today they would just have to be smiling accountants. Draw those smiling accountants and realise why we still need utopia.

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