Who started neo-futurism?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

Neo-futurism, a movement that emerged in the 1960s and lasted until the late 1970s, was influenced by various architects and thinkers. One of the key figures who inspired the development of neo-futurism was Antonio Sant’Elia, an Italian architect who was a part of the Futurist movement.

Sant’Elia, who lived from 1888 to 1916, envisioned a radical transformation of architecture and urban spaces. His drawings and manifestos depicted a future city characterized by dynamic, machine-like structures and a rejection of traditional architectural styles. While Sant’Elia’s ideas were not realized during his lifetime, they had a profound impact on subsequent generations of architects.

In the 1960s, the term “neo-futurism” was coined to describe a new wave of architectural experimentation that drew inspiration from Sant’Elia and other early 20th-century visionaries. This movement sought to embrace technological advancements and envision a future that departed from the past. It was during this time that architects like Hal Foster, William Pereira, Charles Luckman, and Henning Larsen became key figures in the development of neo-futurism.

Hal Foster, an influential architectural critic and historian, played a significant role in shaping the discourse around neo-futurism. Through his writings and teachings, Foster championed the idea of an architecture that embraced the possibilities of technology and rejected nostalgia for historical styles.

Architects such as William Pereira, Charles Luckman, and Henning Larsen were also instrumental in the development of neo-futurism. Pereira, known for his futuristic designs, contributed to the movement through his innovative approach to building design and his use of new construction materials. Luckman, on the other hand, was known for his large-scale projects that incorporated modernist principles with a forward-looking sensibility. Larsen, a Danish architect, embraced the ideals of neo-futurism in his designs, combining functionality with a futuristic aesthetic.

It is important to note that while these architects and thinkers played a significant role in the development and popularization of neo-futurism, the movement itself was a collective endeavor. Many architects, artists, and thinkers of the time were exploring similar ideas and pushing boundaries in their respective fields.

The origins of neo-futurism can be traced back to the visionary ideas of Antonio Sant’Elia and the subsequent efforts of architects like Hal Foster, William Pereira, Charles Luckman, and Henning Larsen. Their contributions helped shape the movement and establish neo-futurism as a distinct architectural style that embraced the possibilities of the future.