|Paolo Soleri||Jacque Fresco||R. Buckminster Fuller|
While working on Friday I was listening to a podcast called Changesurfer Radio, by my friend James Hughes. In the most recent episode, he interviews Jacque Fresco, a visionary, utopian, architect who is the subject of a new documentary called, “Future by Design”, a film I’d really like to see.
In listening to the interview, I was reminded other Utopians like Paolo Soleri and R. Buckminster Fuller, a personal hero of mine. All three despaired at the inefficiencies of the city, and re-imagined it, and all of its components, in their own inimitable ways.
Unlike Soleri’s faceted but organic Arcologies, or Fuller’s seemingly geometrically rigid tensegrity structures, Fresco’s structures, megastructures, planes, ships and cars are unrelentingly smooth, egglike and aero/hydrodynamic. Everything he designs looks like it should fly or swim.
Funny thing is, at their root, all three approaches are rigorously mathematic and all three approaches are beautiful.
Unlike Soleri and Fuller, Fresco envisions that the only way his world can come about is through the complete collapse of the current world order, something like a worldwide Great Depression. He also (and correctly I believe) predicts that his fabulously expensive buildings can only work in a nano-assembler rich world, where scarcity has been banished.
Hopefully, his world wouldn’t suffer the same fate as Oscar Niemeyer’s Brasilia, whose success or failure as a city is still being debated. A Fresco city with a ring of slums would be a horrible thing.