It Doesn't Have To Be Right…

… it just has to sound plausible

The future we used to have


I find the aesthetics of 1960s and early 1970s futurism enormously appealing. All those giant concrete, well, shapes masquerading as buildings, the sleek supersonic aircraft, the sheer optimism of it all… Of course, much of it remained on the drawing-board – we have no moon base, no jet-packs, and we’ve yet to reach Mars. But some of it was actually built. Here are a few photos of the ones that came true.


The National Congress Building, Brasilia

The Hayward Gallery, London

The Georgian Ministry of Highway Construction. Photograph: Frédéric Chaubin

urban transport

Monorail at the New York World Fair 1964

aircraft and spaceplanes

Ekranoplan Orlyonok

Fairey Rotodyne


Fairey Delta 2

giant computer brains

Semi Automatic Ground Environment computer room


interior of Disneyland's House of the Future

a kitchen of the future

Retro kitchen design from

A select filmography & bibliography
Fahrenheit 451, dir. François Truffaut (1966)
2001: A Space Odyssey, dir. Stanley Kubrick (1968)
Rollerball, dir. Norman Jewison (1975)
CCCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed, Frédéric Chaubin (2011)
Rene Burri. Brasilia: Photographs 1960-1993, Arthur Rüegg (2011)

perhaps to be continued…


7 thoughts on “The future we used to have

  1. I’ve always found the aesthetic of that era’s vehicles much more compelling than that of the buildings (most of this architecture seems bland to me), though the Georgian Ministry certainly has an interesting look.

  2. The Georgian Ministry of Highway Construction is AMAZING! I love it! Nice post.

  3. Forgotten ITC series ‘The Strange Report’ is packed full of Brutalist architecture. The fashions and interior design also captured the exact moment when the sixties turned into the seventies, giving it a quite unique feel. It’s a delight to watch.

  4. Nothing warms my heart like a little Brutalist architecture and weird shaped Peugeots flitting around Foucault-reading French bugs.

    You should check out the architecture of Thom Mayne aka Morphosis:

    He designed the Diamond Ranch High School, which was featured in Joss Whedon’s “Serenity.” Positively futuristic.

    It is strange now that the radical buildings are all in Dubai or China.

  5. As an A level architecture student back in the 80s I found a huge book in the local main library about conceptual modernist architects (such as Paolo Soleri – the primary designer of the arcology). It featured a lot of ideas straight out of J G Ballard such as the group who came up with the arcology on steroids – a kind of concentrated city in one building covering the entire coastline of a continent.

    On the Dubai front did you see anything about Masdar City?

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