The future city is looking bright

Young architects are imagining what urban cities could look like, and are creating some fantastic artwork in the process

Imagine a city where instead of being greeted by a toll booth you’re met with a toilet, lifts are powered by electric eels and electrical appliances are plugged into lemons. Such is the visionary, and surprisingly practical, power of Catrina Stewart’s imagination. Her acclaimed graduate project The London Farmhouse Tower considers how increasing urban populations and waste can be used to positive effect. By integrating agriculture into inner city housing, Stewart proposes how urban communities might eliminate waste and become self-sufficient, using faeces, urine, hair and nail clippings, among other resources, to power urban London communities.

But it’s not just Catrina’s ideas that are inventive. Her conceptual drawings for The London Farmhouse Tower are artworks in themselves, having something of David Hockney’s L.A., Daniel Buren’s Naples and Aldo Rossi’s Teatro del Mondo about them. However, unlike self-professed artists, drawings such as Catrina’s are seldom seen on gallery walls. Which is where Adam Dainow comes in.  An architect himself, Adam is the founder of Dainow&Dainow and the curator of Imagined Cities, a London Design Festival exhibtion which showcases some of London’s most exciting architectural art.

Cultivating Faith Structural Study Model, Rapid Prototype by Tom Greenall

“Catrina Stewart’s works are some of the most original and strikingly beautiful drawings I have seen”, Adam says. “By exhibiting the work of both recent graduates and established practitioners, we hope that the best of current architectural design and thinking might be communicated to a broader audience so that people might be better equipped to engage with the design decisions that are shaping their everyday lives.”

The exhibition highlights some of the diverse challenges facing highly urbanised, metropolitan cities today and includes the work of Charlotte Baker, Lukas Barry, Charlie Caswell, Nathan Freise,  Tom Greenall, Claire Jamieson, Sebastian Kite, Will Laslett, Tom Lea, Pete McMahon, Jenny Melville, Tom Noonan, Alastair Parvin, Tom Reynolds, Ostap Rudakevych, Patrick Skingley, Catrina Stewart, Robert Taylor and Colin Wharry.

Aqualta TimesSq Night NYC by Ostap Rudakevych

Film directed by Miles Langley, music by The Dannywolves

Find out more about city planning

Take a look at Le Corbusier’s ideas for a future city and his realised plans for Chandigarh, India. Read Kevin Lynch’s The Image of the City.