Just Imagine

Just Imagine 1

Just ImagineHugh Ferriss

Just Imagine 4Just Imagine 5

1930s imagining of 1980s New York in the sci-fi musical Just Imagine (1930, dir. David Butler) (via)

Designed by art director Stephen Goosson, the city set was an elaborate miniature model that covered a ground area of 75 x 225 feet and whose tallest tower measured 40 feet.

Just Imagine’s New York was primarily inspired by architect Harvey Corbett’s prediction that 1970’s New York would resemble a “very modernized Venice” and by the futuristic urban designs presented in Hugh Ferriss’s 1929 book, The Metropolis of Tomorrow.

Ferriss’s drawings of the ”business center of the future” (pictures #3-5) provided the most direct inspiration for Goosson’s sets. Broad superhighways establish a geometric ground plan that extends upward through overlapping levels of bridges, streets, and terraced walkways. The grid of streets and bridges is pierced by huge freestanding skyscrapers surrounded by lower setback buildings, a design Ferriss created as an analogy to the natural world of “towering mountain peaks… surrounded by foothills”

The opening scenes of the (otherwise mediocre) film, which feature this cityscape, can be seen here.

More on the building of the Just Imagine set. Collection of Hugh Ferriss’s futuristic city sketches here.

2 responses to “Just Imagine

  1. Pretty spectacular imagery. In addition to Ferris, the scale and composition speak to Antonio Sant’Elia and his Citta Nuovo. The difference is I feel like Sant’Elia (beside being less dark/gotham in his depiction) is less car-centric. Despite how exciting the idea of the automobile was back then, the same tone and idea could have been achieved with mass transit instead of the monstrous network of highways. Still… pretty awesome.

I think..

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s