A city that develops in a form built for it, partly planned, but mostly spontaneously born due to a combination of various circumstances, is more than the main workplace of an architect. It is also a generator of new ideas about architecture and the city, and a testing ground for the implementation of architectural ideas in practice.
Many ideas about construction and cities are associated with specific tasks, and are dictated by these tasks. In addition, there are also such ideas that arise in the absence of any direct motivation, but only because of the belief that modern ideas are inadequate to reality. Such representations exist in the form of ideals, models, prototypes, and in some cases — utopias. Sometimes they are born in the process of preparing competitive projects, when designers catch the opportunity to hone their thinking and decide to make their proposed projects something more than pragmatic solutions to specific problems. Sometimes such ideas arise as a result of the obligations assumed in the absence of clients, when architects were faced with the shortcomings and problems of existing cities – of any nature, social, aesthetic, technical, spatial.
Generalizing, let’s say that such ideas cannot be considered as pragmatic solutions proposed in a particular case, rather, they are ways of thinking, such as imagination, impression. In this regard, we can talk about a continuous line connecting the “new city” of Santa Elidef, the industrial fantasies of Yakov Chernikov, the megalomania of the “Modern City” of Le Corbusier, designed for three million inhabitants, or his “Radiant City”, the dystopian visions of the “Continuous Monument” and the “Metagorod” of the MVRDV group. The very fact that these plans were never implemented underlines their power as models.
They have found existence as conceptual expressions of an idea. They were characterized by such purity that it is impossible to embody in everyday reality. Almost all models of famous European cities, with the exception of the utopias of Russian constructivism, were created in Western Europe. The ideas that were born in Central, Northern and Southern Europe did not cause almost any resonance at the international level.