Design Fiction: Imagining Futures

Frank Lloyd Wright's plan for Ellis Island, envisioned in a comic book, absolutely superb. Copyright 2005 - The New York Times.

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s Architecture!

I stumbled upon this fantastic article in the New York Times from all the way back in 2005. It covers a comic book: “The Manhattan Guardian” in which prolific author Grant Morrison weaves together the fantasy and reality of New York into a new DC comic city, “Cinderella City”.

Much of the Cinderella City looks like the New York of today: grimy subway stations, soaring buildings, busy street scenes. But Grant Morrison, … also laced it with architectural marvels that were proposed but never actually constructed.

I love the story of Grant Morrison reading through architectural literature hunting for the grandest examples of unrealized visions for New York. Included is a hotel Antonio Gaudi designed in 1903, along with the mega complex Ellis Island Key, a domed superstructure dreamt up by Frank Lloyd Wright before he passed away.

Comic books are amazing for their ability to explore alternate realities. While most of those realities are populated with incredible physical specimens with dubious fashion sense, the deep principle is the exploration of worlds where anything is possible. It’s a landscape that can be addictive.

Mr. Morrison, who lives in Glasgow, said by embellishing on the existing New York he was tapping into his favorite comic book power: the ability to create alternative realities. “Things as they are have never really been enough for me,” he said.

Design Fiction – a world to explore

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