The Future we Were Promised
Text & Photos: Steven Brooke
The Futurists and speculative fiction writers I read growing up promised me hover cars, Martian and Lunar colonies, an end to disease and famine, and a limitless source of clean, free energy. The all-in-one iPhone aside, we have not come very far.
However, given that there is no future in pessimism, let me affirm that the Brightline Stations in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, by Zyscovich Architects, exhibit a far better vision of the future than what we typically have been given. Apart from being clean, efficient, welcoming and eco-friendly, they are uncompromisingly and unapologetically optimistic in the way that the architecture of the future is portrayed on those science-fiction book covers that mesmerized me as a child.
Fort Lauderdale station.
My photographs emphatically serve that vision. The long vistas portray a dynamic coming-and-going; the extreme diagonals depict speed and motion; and the deeply sunlit interiors, reflecting the architectural forms on the inside walls, echo the very name, Brightline. But there is more to these stations than simply a place from which to travel. Rather, however brief the passengers’ stay in these stations may be, and whether they know it or not, they are experiencing that very future for which we had hoped.
West Palm Beach station.
The photographs were composed with a decided sense of advocacy. The station is intentionally photographed in the context of the surrounding uninspired architecture. Optimistically, we know that the transitions away from these mundane buildings will ultimately – must – occur. The presence of the Brightline Stations we hope will hasten that transition.
Going from the ticket counter to the platform in the West Palm Beach station you ascend, surrounded by light, into the future of travel. Top right: Sitting in the West Palm Beach station you are isolated from the mundane. Bottom right: The jutting corner of the West Palm Beach station is composed as a visual assault on the surrounding architecture, like Bernini’s fountain statue turning away from Borromini’s church in Rome’s Piazza Navona. Bottom left: Adjacent to buildings of the past, the Fort Lauderdale station’s ‘newness’ is that much more evident.
West Palm Beach station.
Steven Brooke is an architectural photographer and writer. He is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, winner of the National AIA Honor Award in Photography, and a faculty member of the University of Miami School of Architecture. He is the photographer of over 40 books on architecture and design and hosts a youtube channel on architectural photography and composition.