In 1899 Jean Marc Côté, a French illustrator, produced what since have become the most widely divulged futuristic postcards meant to communicate to his contemporaries the bliss and facility of future life.
Generally, past futures tend to be obsessive about the same things: air, water and machines. As fulfillers of these prophecies, we have ducked their previsions: We remain firmly on the ground (sometimes going under it, often reaching high above it); we are yet to develop personal flight devices for use in mass scale and have no interest in living under the sea.
Why is this important for architecture?
Buildings have a famously difficult relationship with technology. How many gadgets of yonder have actually made it into the physical structures of buildings? A hut with running water and electricity, this is what 2,5 million years of human evolution have given architecture.
Côté’s postcards show us just that: even in our wildest guesses architecture will be tame and domesticated, just a backdrop for incredible gizmos.
Moby Dick might propel our underwater buses; aero-cabs can pull up to the 3rd floor living room balcony and a robotic orchestra will play Puccini at the opera but buildings will be staunchly neo-classical.