Wow, it turns out that waiting a week in between Act releases is actually torturous for me as well as you. I WANT YOU TO SEE WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN.
But alas, wait we must. So in the meantime here’s a bit of fun and wonder inspired by and often blatantly and shamelessly taking from Dark Roasted Blend’s Retro-Future: Glorious Urbanism.
Nowdays, especially in the West, the idea of the megacity has lost its luster. The urban hell and environmental nightmare that goes along with it has been discarded in favor of more sustainable visions of future population clumps. But during much of the 20th city, retro future vision of wondrous mega cities abounded.
A quick note here as to the size of New Albion. I have made a point of never really saying just how big or small it is. We do know that it is a city state, as are most cities in the region of the continent it is on, but its size will remain undisclosed. Eventually artists will come along and portray New Albion (some even have) and i leave such visions open to interpretation.
“See that gleaming Metropolis on the horizon? – these majestic towers were something to aspire to, to dream about, to shape your life accordingly in an effort to reach it, and finally attain it as the ultimate reward… Such ideas were popular during the infant days of futurism in the 1920s, then in fantastic literature on both sides of the Atlantic during the Golden Age of Wonder in the 1930s, until finally, these grandiose visions fizzled out sometime in the 1980s together with the general decline of futurism.”
Many visions of the inevitable megacity saw it with wonder and optimism. It would be a place where every science miracle of the future would be contained, the edges of what the 20th century human mind could dream.
However, there were others who say a darker, gothic vision, like architectural draftsman Hugh Ferriss. “Through his moody chiaroscuro renderings of skyscrapers, he virtually invented the image of Gotham visitors came to the city to see and residents identified with so fondly. As Michael Mallow puts it: “By the mid-twenties, renderings by Ferriss had become almost de rigeur for successful competition projects; countless skyscrapers waited their turn to be bathed in the dark monumentality emanating from his drafting table. In these works a blasé department store appears as a giant lording over its block. Stodgy hotels cease to be stodgy hotels and become looming silhouettes emerging from the urban haze like shipwrecks. Ferriss went to grand new lengths in suppressing detail for mood, and clients loved it.””
Ferriss wasn’t alone. Artists such as William Robinson Leigh were coming out with these megacity visions as early as 1908, which would become enormously inspiring to both modernists and futurists.
King Champ Gillette’s 1894 proposal:
European modernists like Charles-Edouard “Le Corbusier” Jeanneret and Ludwig Hilberseimer were revolutionaries, fascinated with large-scale schemes that would wipe away the old order and comprehensively reorganize cities for personal mobility via the automobile. The selling points were speed, efficiency, cleanliness and progress, a message that played especially well in America. A 1924 proposal:
And let’s add a modern take on the theme from Ryan Bliss:
But of course, it wasn’t just the West dreaming big. Especially in the atompunk era following WWII, the Soviets dreamed big of a glorious future full of megacities.
Yes, for a few shining decades the megacity of the future looked glorious, instead of the soul sucking, over populated, environmentally disastrous hell hole it would actually have been. The mega city encapsulates much of modernism in one fell swoop, with all its theoretically glory and realistic idiocy.