A re-evaluation of a seminal work on urban density forms the basis of an MSD exhibition at the 2016 Venice Biennale.
In the 1990s The University of Melbourne was bequeathed the ‘Fooks Collection’ by Noemi Fooks, widower of the late Dr Ernest Fooks (1906-1985), émigré architect and town planner, and author of X-Ray the City! The density diagram: basis for urban planning (1946).
Who was this émigré writing pioneering work about urban density on the other side of the world? Why was his book prescient and what is its message for today?
Despite his prolific output in built work and publishing, and the extensive national coverage of his work by the design media, Fooks’ work has not been widely acknowledged in general architectural circles.
For the 2016 Venice Biennale, a new MSD collective, Future Factory, takes a fresh look at X-Ray the City! seventy years after it was first published. Their contributions contextualising a broad range of Fooks influences and contemporaries are on display in an exhibition at the Palazzo Mora in Venice.
The exhibition touches on urban analytics, design tools, geometry, society and stakeholders, and simply trying to understand the city using the X-Ray analogy offered by Fooks. Three major sections focus on a bespoke period: 1946 / 2016 / 2046.
The MSD X-Ray the city! exhibition runs until 27 November 2016.