Urban Adventures

Future metropolis - 1942

Design for a metropolis

Design for a metropolis, 1942
Artist and designer: Stephen Rowland Pierce
© RIBA Library Drawings and Archives Collections


Unlike Patrick Abercrombie, Stephen Rowland Pierce did not specialise in town planning before the war. Despite his lack of fame or formal training in planning, Pierce's drawings attracted a great deal of attention from his peers.

Pierce, clearly influenced by the planning work of Le Corbusier in Paris, replaces the narrow winding streets found in many cities with a grid of flat blocks towering over cars passing through buildings. Pedestrians move under covered walkways, and nature is tamed. Cars run without having to stop, and everyone lives in identical conditions. This was a city of order and speed. For many, this ominous development encapsulated the oppressive society of George Orwell's contemporary novel 1984.


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