Friday, 26 September 2014


From left: King, Architect, Other Guy. Credits: Probably Don Lawrence

While looking for a desk chair at a flea market last Sunday, I stumbled upon a comic book which I'd never heard of before. However, it contained pictures of fantastic cities, dams blowing up and futuristic technologies mixed with ancient and diverse artistic references, so I paid a few kroner for it, and brought it home.

Turns out, this was the first story of the infamous(/famous?) sci-fi/historical fantasy comic book series called The Rise and Fall of the Trigan Empire, which enjoyed a long life considering its genre, continuously published between 1966 and 1982. There's actually a rather large focus on architecture and cities in the series, and the architect Peric is one of its main characters. The imaginations of writer Mike Butterworth and artist Don Lawrence should probably share the credits for the interesting concepts.

The Trigan City is, like many other visual elements of the series, a fantasy on Ancient Roman features. White stone, columns (columns, columns), pediments and round arches are recognisable parts of Roman classicism, whereas onion domes, spires and other features of medieval architecture pierce the horizon and prevent monotony.

Monday, 22 September 2014


Perhaps you know this very well, but there is a place called Celebration, a small town in Florida, built by the Walt Disney Company. An early example of New Urbanism put into practice, the people in this town seem to be living (that's right, they live there for real) on the very edge of reality as we know it. The idea of letting it snow in Florida is rather surreal by itself, but accompanied by music and voices seeming to come from nowhere in particular, it's beyond weird, seen with my European eyes.

And on the other hand: What if this works for the people who live there? Celebration is a walkable town, and people make real friendships there, just by passing each other by on porches or the sidewalks. At least it's an alternative to suburban sprawl, isn't it? And what are the alternatives? How much "real" traditional urbanism is there in the US?

I'd never live in Celebration, but perhaps we'll have to let fantasy play a bigger part in architecture when dealing with the need for reshaping society to meet the ecological crisis ahead. Is Celebration a definite answer? Absolutely not. Is it an interesting question? I would say yes.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


What do you do with a city built for 300 000 people, but with a population of less than 10% of that? (It's Inner Mongolia, I don't blame humanity for not moving.) We're talking large urban spaces, attempts at innovative architecture, oversize bronze horses galloping across stone plazas, organic concrete shapes and four-lane roads without cars.

You bring your skateboard, of course.

The poetically named Kangbashi New Area, Ordos. Not Bregna.

Friday, 12 September 2014


So, thanks to Netflix I've started  watching the original Star Trek-series, here represented by the Orient-inspired (Jerusalem meets Lhasa) Riegel VII. I'm rather amazed, but as George Takei (who by the way was very hot back then) would say: Oh myyy!
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