Science Fiction Architecture

By Jaime Gillin
For this week's "Three Buildings" column I turned to industrial designer Gustavo Fricke. We featured him and his Oaxaca shop Blackbox in our July/August issue's Design Finder ("Hecho in Oaxaca," online here). He currently lives in San Francisco and has traveled a fair bit, so I was curious to hear which three buildings inspire him most. Sure enough, his picks span the globe, from Mexico City to San Francisco to Paris. When asked what unites the three buildings he selected, Fricke replies: "Since I was a kid I've been fascinated by science fiction. Science fiction explores future scenarios that push the boundaries of our imagination. These three buildings, too, allow for the projection of the imaginary—for the representation in our present time of a future world to come. They are props of a future possibility, frozen in time."

The Satélite Towers, Mexico City, Mexico

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"This landmark stands in the middle of Periferico, Mexico City's main Freeway. Built by Mathias Goeritz and Luis Barragán and inspired by the painter Jesus Reyes Ferreyra's ideas, the Satélite Towers are truly a great piece of architecture. Due to the unusual fact that nobody really owns the land over which they were built, they were not maintained by any government and had fallen into disrepair until they were finally repainted in their original colors, which had been chosen by Barragán, and recovered their landmark status in the late 90's."

A moodier view of the towers.

A moodier view of the towers.

 

Chinese Culture Center in the Hilton, San Francisco, United States

Looking upwards at the Chinese Culture Center in the Hilton.

Looking upwards at the Chinese Culture Center in the Hilton.

"The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, California, USA, is a major community-based, non-profit organization established in 1965 to 'foster the understanding and appreciation of Chinese and Chinese American art, history, and culture in the United States.' The facilities of the Center, totaling 20,000 square feet, include a 299-seat auditorium, a 2,935-square-foot gallery, book shop, classroom, and offices. Centrally located between Chinatown and the Financial District, the Center attracts a broad spectrum of audiences from the Chinese community, the city at large, and the greater Bay Area, as well as visitors from all over the country."

A bird passes by the iconic building.

A bird passes by the iconic building.

 

Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France