The Cooper Union
School of Architecture

Architects from around the nation competed in The City of the Future: A Design and Engineering Challenge, a design charrette inspired by The History Channel series Engineering an Empire. This series explores the architectural and engineering feats of the past, and their profound effect on the development of human civilization. The competition continued that focus to engage the vision of contemporary architects with concepts from ancient civilizations. One of the competition projects, which embodied this direction in particular has been edited and directed to the above presentation: The Roman City Within New York, Chicago and Los Angeles by competition participant Diane Lewis.

Here, Lewis, an award-winning New York architect, Rome Prize Recipient and Professor at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union, examines the derivation of the ancient city form and the principles of the Roman city. The images reveal how these ideas have survived and sustained architectural and urban form in the development of cities built on ancient foundations as opposed to the three cities of the American continent studied in the competition which were built on the ideas rather than the physical remains.

By presenting the deeper relationship of structural skeletons and how they can be seen in cities throughout time, Lewis’ overview may illuminate a reading of the visions of the future presented by her colleagues, and provide an architectural understanding of how the present and future cities are rooted in ideas that endure and transform over centuries. To learn about the ancient in the future, please click here.