Front cover Taken from Unknown Fields’ China: A World Adrift project. Courtsey of Unknown Fields
Back cover Rendering of Renzo Piano’s bridge and Stefano Boeri’s Red Circle in Genoa. Courtsey of The Big Picture/SBA Blueprint masthead set in Reduct by Dylan Kendle
As a youth I was completely obsessed with cars. I used to make models of them as a kid and could tell you the make of the car coming around the corner, by the sound of its engine. I passed my driving test as soon as was humanly possible (in my sister’s Citroen 2CV), bought an old very rusty car and ended up having to swap out the engine. This obsession also carried on into work life and I became a motoring correspondent for a couple of years while working on newspapers.
I still love my car, but I feel its days are numbered. I actually travel about the same miles every year on my bike as I do in the car. In some cities, the car is becoming more and more of a dinosaur. Our urban environments have been massively shaped by this hundred-and-something-year mobility fad, but it really is time to move on and Europe, with its crowded historic streets, can be the driver here (pun intended). Just think of how much space we can reclaim in our cities and how much nicer they’d be if we perform a regicide on the notion of the car as king. All hail the pedestrian people’s republic — plus a very healthy dose of public transport, of course.
So welcome to our transport issue. Cars barely feature in it, in fact, only in a historic sense in my V&A Museum cars show review on page 192 — and the sideways glance at the crazy world of Elon Musk, via Tesla’s recently launched Cybertruck, on page 29. There is, however, a look at the new underground line in Copenhagen that is so good, people are riding it for fun (page 46). There’s also a fascinating globe-trotting tale told in Meet this month (cover and page 21) as we talk to the hard-to-classify duo of Unknown Fields.
Elsewhere this month, we bring you the results of the third Blueprint Architecture Photography Awards, sponsored by Atrium (page 80). We had an amazing set of entries again this year from all over the world and a high-profile judging panel which included Daniel Libeskind and Ben van Berkel.
And returning to my childhood, I spent most of my car-obsessed teens in Kent surrounded by the heady smell of hop fields. The oast houses, used for drying the hops, were an unsual local vernacular/typology, but a normal part of the landscape for me. In the residential section this month — At home with Blueprint — architect ACME has taken the oast house idea and run with it to stunning effect (page 176) for a new-build family house — quite superb.
Johnny Tucker, editor
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