Arch + Eng, Education, Sci + Tech

New Book: Last Futures by Douglas Murphy

Last Futures: Nature, Technology, and the End of Architecture by Douglas Murphy

In the late 1960s the world was faced with impending disaster: the height of the Cold War, the end of oil, and the decline of great cities throughout the world. Out of this crisis came a new generation that hoped to build a better future, influenced by visions of geodesic domes, walking cities, and a meaningful connection with nature. In this brilliant work of cultural history, architect Douglas Murphy traces the lost archeology of the present-day through the works of thinkers and designers such as Buckminster Fuller, the ecological pioneer Stewart Brand, the Archigram architects who envisioned the Plug-In City in the ’60s, as well as co-operatives in Vienna, communes in the Californian desert, and protesters on the streets of Paris. In this mind-bending account of the last avant garde, we see not just the source of our current problems but also some powerful alternative futures.

Last Futures was published on December 22nd, 2015. A recent Guardian review noted:

Murphy writes with infectious fervour about innovators such as Buckminster Fuller, the American pioneer of quick, cheap, bubble architecture, “who wore glasses so thick his eyes seemed as big as dinner plates…

The book becomes more compelling when it starts to explore the social and political implications of the minimal, yet capacious, buildings that Fuller and others were designing…

To purchase Last Futures from the Guardian’s bookshop, click here. The book is also available on