Inside the Imaginarium of a Solarpunk Architect
July 18, 2021 8:38 AM   Subscribe

Imagine a world in which nature is intertwined with the industrial: giant lotus flowers replace concrete skyscrapers; an urban forest forms a city constantly in shift through a tree’s life cycle. This is the imaginarium of Belgian architect Luc Schuiten. To discover his work is to fall under the spell of a colourful cosmos, where architectural blueprints are swapped for visionary storyboards that invite the viewer to dive into his utopian dreamscape.”
posted by ob1quixote (7 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Coincidentally, Noah Smith just published a newsletter issue on solarpunk urban design.
posted by doctornemo at 8:59 AM on July 18 [4 favorites]

I really do like these fanciful designs. But when people figure out how to engineer with biology the same way we engineer with nonliving materials, shit's gonna get far, far weirder than this stuff. People are gonna get far, far weirder. Probably not this century, though. Probably.
posted by tclark at 9:14 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]

His brother, is of course, Belgian comic artist François Schuiten and they did an excellent series together called Les Terres creuses which is worth seeking out.
posted by Ashwagandha at 10:28 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]

tied: arcologies
wired: art cool lodges
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:29 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]

I know this isn't right but when I see "solarpunk" I always think it's going to be something like:

"I was running 50 MW of hot glass into Baton Rouge harbor and remote piloting Flipper through the French Quarter fifty fathoms down for my MegaTwitch stream when every alarm in the HUD clanged at once. DHS drones! I hit the adaptive optics and the BandGap made like a hole in the Gulf."
posted by officer_fred at 12:13 PM on July 18 [17 favorites]

Put me in mind of Grahtwood, my favourite place in Tamriel.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 12:42 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]

Thanks for posting ob1quixote There's no real reason why it can't be so, but there are so many layers restricting it from becoming real;
Engineers who only understand right angles - I know quite a few.
Insurance and banks who only listen to the right-angle only engineers.
Others (inc. many landscape architects) afraid of the Power of Plants™.
Zoning laws.
Education systems producing the above mindsets.
Protectionism from all of the above not wanting change.
I find there is such huge, (deliberate)taught ignorance of living systems, and soft solutions, in favour of engineered.

I think this is largely Capitalism seeking to monetize every strand.
Most real/closed loop solutions are bespoke; site-specific and made from unique parts or from natural local materials - much of the solution is specific local system knowledge and skills, and solves the problem while generating (and needing) institutional capital.

Engineered/Capitalist solutions are normalized, packaged and non-adaptable. Knowledge is treated as fungible, and where neoliberalism prevails what little knowledge that is developed is not valued. This is certainly my experience with the public sector in NZ, the result is chaos.

But there is change happening; I toured a large facility last week where they're closing all the loops on the way to near Carbon neutrality. I know a few engineers with industrial ecology mindsets who are acting out on 100Ha sites, and people are engaging me to go a lot further than 'mitigation' from hectares to the km² scale. But its still not the main path.
posted by unearthed at 4:02 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]

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