Neo-futurism is a late 20th to early 21st century movement in the arts, design, and architecture. It has been seen as a departure from the attitude of post-modernism and represents an idealistic[1] belief in a better future.

Nanjing International Youth Cultural Centre, a neo-futuristic skyscraper in Nanjing, China
Years active1960s-present
Major figuresPeter Cook, Cedric Price, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Norman Foster, Santiago Calatrava, Zaha Hadid
InfluencesFuturism, high-tech architecture

Described as an avant-garde movement,[2] as well as a futuristic rethinking of the thought behind aesthetics and functionality of design in growing cities, the movement has its origins in the mid-20th century structural expressionist work of architects such as Alvar Aalto and Buckminster Fuller.[1]

Futurist architecture began in the 20th century starting with styles such as Art Deco and later with the Googie movement as well as high-tech architecture.


Beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s by architects such as Buckminster Fuller[3] and John C. Portman, Jr.;[4][5][6] architect and industrial designer Eero Saarinen,[7] Archigram, an avant-garde architectural group (Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Ron Herron, Dennis Crompton, Michael Webb and David Greene, Jan Kaplický and others;[8][9][10] [11][12][13] it is considered in part an evolution out of high-tech architecture, developing many of the same themes and ideas.[14]

Although it was never built, the Fun Palace (1961) interpreted by architect Cedric Price as a "giant neo-futurist machine"[15][16] influenced other architects, notably Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, whose Pompidou Centre extended many of Price's ideas.


Neo-futurism was revitalised in 2007 after the publication of "The Neo-Futuristic City Manifesto"[17][18][19] included in the candidature presented to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE)[20] and written by innovation designer Vito Di Bari,[21][22] a former executive director at UNESCO),[23] to outline his vision for the city of Milan at the time of the Universal Expo 2015. Di Bari defined his neo-futuristic vision as the "cross-pollination of art, cutting edge technologies and ethical values combined to create a pervasively higher quality of life";[24] he referenced the Fourth Pillar of Sustainable Development Theory[25] and reported that the name had been inspired by the United Nations report Our Common Future.[26]

Jean-Louis Cohen has defined neo-futurism[27][28] as "a corollary to technology, being the structures built today byproducts of new materials to create previously impossible forms." Etan J. Ilfeld wrote that in the contemporary neo-futurist aesthetics "the machine becomes an integral element of the creative process itself, and generates the emergence of artistic modes that would have been impossible prior to computer technology."[29] Reyner Banham's definition of "une architecture autre" is a call for an architecture that technologically overcomes all previous architectures but possessing an expressive form,[30] as Banham stated about neo-futuristic "Archigram’s Plug-in Computerized City, form does not have to follow function into oblivion."[31]

In art and architecture

Neo-futurism was inspired partly by Futurist architect Antonio Sant'Elia and pioneered from the early 1960s and the late 1970s by Hal Foster,[32] with architects such as William Pereira,[33][34] Charles Luckman[35][36] and Henning Larsen.[37]

Innovation Designer Vito Di Bari has been considered to be one of the leading designers of neo-futurism,[38] who has a vision for the “cross-pollination of art and technology for a better world.


The relaunch of neo-futurism in the 21st century has been creatively inspired by the Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect Zaha Hadid,[39] architect Santiago Calatrava[40][41] and by Vito DiBari.[42][43]

Neo-futurist architects, designers and artists include people like Denis Laming,[44][45][46] Patrick Jouin,[47] Yuima Nakazato,[48][49] Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag[50] and artist Charis Tsevis.[51][52][53] Neo-futurism has absorbed some high-tech architectural themes and ideas, incorporating elements of high-tech industry and technology іnto building design:[54] Technology and context has been a focus for some architects such as Buckminster Fuller, Norman Foster,[55][56] Kenzo Tange, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers.[41]


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Further reading

  • Cohen, Jean-Louis (2012). The Future of Architecture. Since 1889. London: Phaidon Press. ISBN 978-0714845982.
  • Di Bari V. (2007). "100 years: From Manifesto of futurist architecture to the Neofuturistic city manifesto" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-04-18.
  • Foster, Hal (1987). "Neo-Futurism: Architecture and Technology". AA Files. Architectural Association School of Architecture. 14: 25–27. JSTOR 29543561.
  • Foster, Hal (1994). "What's Neo about the Neo-Avant-Garde?". October. MIT Press. 70: 5–32. JSTOR 779051.
  • Rowena Easton, The NeoFuturist Manifesto, 2008
  • Klein, Caroline; Lieb, Stefanie (2013). Futuristic: Visions of Future Living. Cologne: DAAB Media. ISBN 978-3942597098.
  • A History of Neo-Futurism, Erica Anne Milkovich, 2010 - Avant-garde (Aesthetics)
  • Gunther Berghaus, From Futurism to Neo-Futurism, in Avant-garde/Neo-avant-garde, 2005, published by Dietrich Scheunemann, Rodopi BV
  • Colin Rowe, Fred Koetter, After the Millennium, in Collage City, 1983, published by Architecture - The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA
  • Etan Jonathan Ilfeld, Beyond Contemporary Art, 2012, Vivays Publishing, London
  • Anthony Vidler, Histories of the immediate present, 2008 MIT Press, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ISBN 978-0-262-72051-9
  • Reyner Banham, “A Clip-on Architecture,” Architectural Design 35, no. 11
  • Reyner Banham: Historian of the Immediate Future (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002)
  • Ru Brown, FUTURISM IS DEAD LONG LIVE FUTURISM The legacy of techno-love in contemporary design, 2011, University of Washington - MDes Design Investigations
  • Gabriel Gyang Dung, Bridget Mlumun Akaakohol, J.C. Akor - The Concept Of Sustainable Development And The Challenges Of Economic Growth And Development In Nigeria - July 2014, Department of Economics, College of Education, Katsina-Ala.
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