These old-school Dutch designs are a nice reminder that living in the future could have sucked less
We could all hanging out in this cool hole in the ground right now!
One of the most rewarding things about falling into an internet hole is exiting said hole clutching something that’s actually cool in your digital hands to show everyone. That’s what happened to me today when I decided to see what people in the past thought the future would look like and ended up stumbling upon the Netherlands Architecture Institute’s archives on Flickr. Turns out they’re sitting on a trove of never-realized architectural designs that could have made life today way more interesting and sane-feeling than it actually is.
For example, above is a concept for a neighborhood designed to foster community through the creating gardens and parks that residents would all help care for, and below is a design for a city that minimizes disease by keeping various municipal functions completely separated.
Of course, not every idea for the future was great. On the mild end of the spectrum, here’s a design for a completely slanted house, which seems like it would be a royal pain in the ass to live in.
And here’s an even larger-scale crazy idea for a new downtown Paris which would have demolished every historical building and road and replaced them with high-rises. While I don’t think I could advocate in good conscience for knocking down historic buildings, the pre-World-War-II concept is at least nice to look at.
Of course, the NAI’s archives contain designs that actually made it into reality, such as the below concept art for a pier in Zandvoort that’s pretty similar to the real thing.
Actually, now that I think about it, that pier looks way too much like it could be a part of a seasteading city for its own good.