If Ayn Rand did one thing right, it was conjuring—without a single illustration—a style of architecture totally in sync with its landscape. In 1964, Bernard Rudofsky echoed this approach in his influential exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, “Architecture Without Architects,” which encouraged design that broke free of classical forms and instead adapted to its setting, both spatially and in terms of the place’s vernacular. Nearly a half-century later, this transition is still very much in progress.
Beatrice Galilee’s Radical Architecture of the Future adds to the conversation with an exploration of 79 projects that offer alternative approaches to architecture and design. A baby-blue, translucent skin allows natural light to enter into the Plasencia Auditorium and Congress Center, its uneven edges evoking the Spanish hills on which it’s built. At night the building, conceived by Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano, glows from the inside. Also included in the book are several of Bolivian engineer turned designer Freddy Mamani’s fantastical, Technicolor designs reflective of a “New Andean Architecture.” The Gaudí-esque buildings, inspired by local traditions and motifs, brighten the otherwise rock-brown city of El Alto. Then there are the more radical works of well-known architecture firms Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Adjaye Associates, and Ensamble Studio, plus pieces from artist Julie Mehretu and photographer Wolfgang Tillmans.
Taken together, these otherworldly designs present a new form of space exploration. —Julia Vitale