Mark Lascelles Thornton

An artist's impossible city borrows landmarks from eight major cities, including New York, Chicago, London, Shanghai, and Taipei.

Architects are inveterate dreamers. They think up buildings all the time and, given the chance, are quite capable of producing master plans of entire cities, complete with fanciful designs for the towers and tenement houses, whirling roadways and flyovers that would populate them. But rarely do they do this in pen and ink, let alone with the virtuosity that artist  Mark Lascelles Thornton possesses. Thornton is currently underway on a massive drafting endeavor: a fully-realized skyscraper city that spans an 8 foot by 5 foot spread. “The Happiness Machine,” as he is calling the project, collects the world’s most iconic superstructures and lines them up along a monumental axis that forms the spine of the imaginary metropolis.

Thornton’s impossible skyline borrows towering landmarks new and old from eight major cities, including New York, Chicago, London, Shanghai, and Taipei. The Willis Tower (aka the Sears Tower) and Taipei 101 bookend the piece, while its center is occupied by the likes of One World Trade Center, the Gherkin, and the Shard. A visual barrage of angled construction cranes, spiraling ramps, bobbing water towers, and an insufficient number of housing blocs populate the foreground, filling out any gaps in between the skyscrapers. The effect is both thrilling and disheartening, with urban disjunction taken to perverse extremes. See many more of Thornton’s drawings over at his Tumblr.

This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Smoke from the fires hangs over Brazil.
    Environment

    Why the Amazon Is on Fire

    The rash of wildfires now consuming the Amazon rainforest can be blamed on a host of human factors, from climate change to deforestation to Brazilian politics.

  2. a map of London Uber driver James Farrar's trip data.
    Transportation

    For Ride-Hailing Drivers, Data Is Power

    Uber drivers in Europe and the U.S. are fighting for access to their personal data. Whoever wins the lawsuit could get to reframe the terms of the gig economy.

  3. Graduates react near the end of commencement exercises at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S.
    Life

    Where Do College Grads Live? The Top and Bottom U.S. Cities

    Even though superstar hubs top the list of the most educated cities, other cities are growing their share at a much faster rate.

  4. An aerial photo of downtown Miami.
    Life

    The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think

    Looking at the population and job growth of large cities proper, rather than their metro areas, uncovers some surprises.

  5. A man sleeps in his car.
    Equity

    Finding Home in a Parking Lot

    The number of unsheltered homeless living in their cars is growing. Safe Parking programs from San Diego to King County are here to help them.

×