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Urville: The Imaginary City
March 28, 2006 7:31 PM   Subscribe

Welcome to Urville, the city that autistic Frenchman Gilles Trehin has been designing since he was 12 years old. The drawings, in particular, are incredible.
posted by jimmythefish (27 comments total)

 
That is really fascinating. Thanks, jimmy.
posted by papakwanz at 7:36 PM on March 28, 2006


Fascinating stuff. Thank you very much for the links.
posted by kryptondog at 7:36 PM on March 28, 2006


Incredible, indeed.
posted by dobbs at 7:36 PM on March 28, 2006


Fantastic. The video is good.
posted by birdie birdington at 7:37 PM on March 28, 2006


argh. I saw this earlier and would have sworn that it was from a link from mefi. Now it's killing me not knowing where I actually saw the link.
posted by juv3nal at 7:38 PM on March 28, 2006


Sweet shit. I'm a fan of the Porte du Merlias (from the drawings link).
posted by billysumday at 7:38 PM on March 28, 2006


via?

Or maybe it's just serendipity.

Lego should sponsor him to complete the construction.
posted by asok at 7:41 PM on March 28, 2006


Juv3nal: probably from Boingboing.
posted by moonbird at 7:41 PM on March 28, 2006


ah...kotaku. the world makes sense again.
posted by juv3nal at 7:42 PM on March 28, 2006


Hmm..didn't see the kotaku post. Apologies.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:52 PM on March 28, 2006


Hmm..didn't see the kotaku post. Apologies.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:52 PM EST on March 28 [!]


Nothing at all to apologize for, thanks for an interesting post.
posted by marxchivist at 7:55 PM on March 28, 2006


No, no ... I saw on Bardic's wetcasements on the 27th ...
posted by R. Mutt at 8:00 PM on March 28, 2006


And it is mighty cool.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:01 PM on March 28, 2006


I wish real cities had architecture this consistently elaborate and beautiful.
posted by jenovus at 8:03 PM on March 28, 2006


Ditto. He makes all that steel and glass look appealing, somehow, and even kind of quaint.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:17 PM on March 28, 2006


Fascinating post, jimmythefish, thanks! The blog itself is quite good, too - I also love this feature on house trucks and the plaster casts of harvester ant nests are brilliant. What a wonderful site!
posted by madamjujujive at 8:23 PM on March 28, 2006


This is great!

I had an acquaintance who devoted all of his spare time to developing an imaginary city and continent for his role playing group. It was quite extraordinarily detailed and his devotion to the minutiae was painstaking.

Unfortunately he was the worlds worst GM and rather than being autistic he just had absolutely no social skills.
posted by wilful at 9:04 PM on March 28, 2006


jenovus writes 'I wish real cities had architecture this consistently elaborate and beautiful.'

Meh. He's an ok drafter, and quite imaginative, but his actual "designs" are a trite mishmash of styles and periods. More in the realm of match-counting, IMO.
posted by signal at 9:08 PM on March 28, 2006


Signal,

That 'mishmash of styles and periods' is exactly what I find fascinating about his stuff. Obviously he's not going to merge the expertise of several professional fields, but, as an urban planning grad student myself, I marvel at the extent to which he is able to take these ideas.

This isn't a plan - it's a city that exists in his mind. There's a huge difference. It has history and layers of various styles that are a result of different eras. The mishmash is the genius.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:39 PM on March 28, 2006


interesting.
I haven't examined every image to a huge extent, but it seems like the people in this city never, or perhaps very rarely, touch one another. Maybe they're all hypochondriacs -- or maybe it's just more support to the claim that the creator is autistic (i udnerstand that autistics largely shy away from interaction and contact).
posted by wumpus at 11:12 PM on March 28, 2006


Fantastic stuff. The depiction of people is interesting. From what I've seen he only draws people together if it's parent/child. There are a few depictions of what would seem like couples but everyone looks vey isolated.

I'd agree with jimmythefish - the mishmash is almost certainly intentional. There are old statues and churches set amongst skyscrapers.
posted by twistedonion at 2:53 AM on March 29, 2006


Hold on. Aren't most cities a mishmash of styles and periods?
posted by Keefa at 3:20 AM on March 29, 2006


To clarify: my point is that each individual building is "a trite mishmash of styles and periods". Emphasis on "trite".
posted by signal at 4:23 AM on March 29, 2006


i.e.: they're boxes with lots of little rectangles to signify windows, and some shapes thrown on to suggest certain historical styles.
posted by signal at 4:24 AM on March 29, 2006


signal: i.e.: they're boxes with lots of little rectangles to signify windows, and some shapes thrown on to suggest certain historical styles.

Well, yes, but there's nothing wrong with having to use your imagination every now and then. They are certainly as detailed as some conceptual architectural sketches and much more so in some cases.
posted by Keefa at 4:54 AM on March 29, 2006


This reminds me of Stephen Wiltshire an autist with the ability to glance at a scene then draw it with pretty remarkable accuracy from memory, who later started combining memories of photographs of earthquake damaged cities with real cities to make some pretty spooky images. Less imagination than this bloke, but a better draughtsman...
posted by jack_mo at 5:38 AM on March 29, 2006


Keefa writes 'They are certainly as detailed as some conceptual architectural sketches and much more so in some cases.'

I agree, they're very (or too-) detailed, just not especially interesting except from a "wow, why would anybody do that?" sort of way, kind of like a matchstick Eiffel Tower.
posted by signal at 9:26 AM on March 29, 2006


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