Architects are frequently accused of living life with their head in the clouds, preoccupied with fantastical worlds disconnected from reality. Maybe so, but when those worlds are as beautifully illustrated as those in Nir Levie’s “Outskirts Of Vision”, who could blame us?
The graphic artist’s epic 220-page novel chronicles young architect Ben’s adventures in a dangerous and mysterious metropolis in which everything is constantly moving and shifting, a strange land of rampant development, gripped by the monstrous tentacles of urbanization.
The young architect is out to explore the city, with just one ally: a rebellious anarchist, the fictional equivalent of Peter Cook, perhaps. Indeed, the city itself is reminiscent of Archigram’s more organic creations, with an added dose of Escher, a smattering of Gaudí, and more than a passing nod to Rem Koolhaas and OMA. Even Zaha Hadid’s ocean of parametric waves might seem rather conventional compared to Levie’s outlandish cityscapes.
The novel depicts a dark and knowing commentary on the perils of political and financial influence on our cities, portraying a metropolis that is being consumed by a battle between public and private interests. Perhaps the scariest part of all is that, other than the two main protagonists, no one else notices the changes surging all around them — the population is stumbling blindly into a fiercely frenetic future.