The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think.
It all began in 1973, away from big urban centers and far from the wealthy Western nations struggling with the aftermath of the oil crisis, which threatened the joyful status quo of post-war prosperity. The era of great visionaries was ending, as once again it became clear that the failing order was in need of new visions. Our story takes place in provincial Wroclaw, in which an unknown (at least by the general public) architect by profession and everything-but-an-architect by conviction Stefan Müller, was horrified by the Polish edition of the report comissioned by the elite Club of Rome. The complicated analyzes of depleting natural resources and increased consumption by the increasing number of Earth inhabitants described in The Limits of Growth clearly indicated that civilization in its current form is heading towards certain self-destruction. In the same year, Müller began to create the Terra-X concept, which assumed that we should - at least partly - leave our planet, by elevating the Living Habitat between the clouds and giving rise to a new era. This would be a breakthrough comapred only to the first humanoids descending from the trees. Back on Earth, nature was to prevail on the globe again.
Stefan Müller, Terra X
The concept, however, was not enough for Müller, even though he believed in it till the end of his life. He perceived it as one of the voices in a global discussion on the future of architecture, urban planning and people’s relations with the surrounding world. Instead of the multifunctional grid surrounding the planet, in 1975 he created the real Terra - a series of exhibitions and discussions, which constituted an innovative platform for exchanging thoughts about the future of not only architecture, but also - if not primarily - civilization. The exhibitions were supposed to present the so-called intentional architecture from around the world. Intentionality was the key here - the visionary ideas were supposed to be based on “mind’s active attitude towards a problem, which would, as a result, transform desires into a potential action plan.”
Traumnovelle, Escape, kolaż, 2019
Thirty-five years after the second (and, so far, the last) Terra exhibition, over a dozen architecture-related European institutions, under the auspicious lead of the Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) in Ljubljana and with the financial support of the European Union, set up a platform aimed at addressing present-day challenges. One of the mottos of the Future Architecture Platform is Think future: “the platform presents and celebrates innovations, experiments and ideas of the generation that will deal with architecture design and construction of European cities in the coming years. It promotes European innovation, architecture, culture, knowledge and social capital through one common platform.” A machine was born of this enthusiasm, whose main component is the internet database, where ideas for the future on various scales are collected from all over the world. As in the case of Terra, most of the contemporary projects express anxiety, disagreement with the status quo and the need to change our course - even on a microscale, by a few degrees.
Anna Szkurat-Wojno, Zespół hotelowo-usługowy w Górach Stołowych, 1974
No wonder - a grim forecast made at the beginning of the 1970s, predicting ecological disaster to occur around 2030, has been confirmed many times in the meantime. So, it would seem we have a little over a decade left. The exhibition “Terra X - ∞. Archive of the Future” presents ten ideas, selected from the archives of Terra 1 (1975) and Future Architecture Platform (2019). Juxtaposed with each other, they tell the story of thinking about the future and possible (or completely impossible) scenarios for building the vision of tomorrow, in which the radicalism of conceptual experiments, redesigning urban structures and entire social systems permeates with the need to return to our roots, drawing directly from natural intelligence, and the need to rewrite the past and supplement our archives with voices that haven’t been heard so far.
Rem Koolhaas, Elia Zenghelis, Madelon Vriesendorp, Zoe Zenghelis
Future Architecture Platform (2019)
Daniela Arias Laurino
Ayfer Idil Kemaloglu
Anna Maria Fink
Exhibition organized within the Future Architecture Platform.