Future City: Experiment and Utopia in Architecture 1956 – 2006 at the Barbican Art Gallery, London

Commissioned by The Barbican, Future City: Experiment and Utopia in Architecture 1956 – 2006, was designed as an exhibition to chart the development of experimental architecture since 1956.

The Barbican Art Gallery asked: “What would it be like to live in a hairy house, a floating city, or an inflatable pod? Pure fantasy or the shape of things to come? From extraordinary houses and incredible towers, to fantasy cityscapes and inhabitable sculptures, Future City showcased the most radical and experimental architecture to have emerged in the past 50 years. Featuring a who’s who of architecture, the exhibition included 70 visionary projects by influential and groundbreaking architects who have challenged convention to radically shape and influence the way we live.

From the visionary artist-turned-architect Constant Nieuwenhuys, to 1960’s giants Archigram and SuperStudio, to deconstructivists Daniel Libeskind and Zaha Hadid and contemporary digitally inspired work by Nox and Decoi, this was the most comprehensive survey of experimental architecture to be held in the UK. Featuring 300 original models and drawings, plus photographs and film, Future City reveals classic projects: from Kisho Kurokawa’s Floating City (1961) and Rem Koolhaas’s Delirious New York (1978), to unusual and innovative houses including Shigeru Ban’s Paper Log House (1995) and Watanabe’s Jelly Fish house series (1990-97).”

The exhibition content and display cases were integrated rather than expressed separately in order to generate a seamless experience of the gallery as a city. Beginning on the upper floor of the Barbican Art Callery, visitors were invited to drift through labyrinthine walls, blocks  and towers, that accommodated the exhibits as well as the signage, as in a Debordian derive, to explore the seam of ideas underpinning the contemporary metropolis.


Architect - Foreign Office Architects

Graphic Design - Studio Mysercough


London, United Kingdom


The Barbican Art Gallery


Project Data 2006

Total area