After his involvement with the CoBrA movement in the late 1940s and early 1950s Constant found himself in the company of Guy Debord and Asger Jorn in the latter part of the 1950s in Alba (Italy). It was here in 1956/7 that he made his first architectural models, inspired by gypsy communities that lived in the surroundings of the city. Formally, these studies resemble both the notion of circular encampment as well as the idea of a nucleus or oyster-like protective enclosure. These studies would lead to the development of his New Babylon theories. As Mark Wigley explains;
'New Babylon envisages a society of total automation in which the need to work is replaced with a nomadic life of creative play, in which traditional architecture has disintegrated along with the social institutions that it propped up. A vast network of enormous multilevel interior spaces propagates to eventually cover the planet. These interconnected 'sectors' float above the ground on tall columns. While vehicular traffic rushes underneath and air traffic lands on the roof, the inhabitants drift by foot through the huge labyrinthine interiors, endlessly reconstructing the atmospheres of the spaces.'
(Mark Wigley, 'New Babylon. the Hyper-architecture of Desire' 1998)
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