‘Broadcasting the Arts: This was Tomorrow Architecture on TV’ – BFI & Barbican

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I went into the first of the British Film Institute’s latest film series with a sense of excitement. ‘Broadcasting the Arts: This was Tomorrow Architecture on TV’ is a collaboration throughout June between BFI, Barbican and the London Festival of Architecture, a formidable team when it comes to cultural events.

The showing I elected to go to was ‘The Architecture of the Future’, a retrospective evening showing three seminal films created between 1960-1980 revealing what those of the past, designed for the future. These included ‘Towards tomorrow: Super City’, ‘Archigram’ and ‘Equinox: A Short History of the Future’.

As an out and out millennial and non-architect, it was an eye opener. The problems they aimed to address in their films – overcrowded cities, lack of green space, laborious tasks at work and in the home were all too familiar; the solutions not so much. Though there was much made of the flying car and automated kitchen to delight the housewives of tomorrow – some of the design solutions were at once unfounded and delightfully bizarre. For instance, Buckminster Fuller’s Tetrahedron Floating City that allowed us to slot our homes in and out of a megastructure anchored in water and Eugene Tsui’s two mile high city, the Ultima Tower inspired by a termite’s nest. Engineering appeared to be no issue and the ideas were absolutely inspired.

The films opened up new perspectives to me, using memories and hindsight to show how many researchers, designers and anthropologists thought the world of today would be.

All in the luxurious surrounds of one of the best cinemas in the country. This series is one to watch.

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