Altaplana, world of Francois Schuiten and Benoit Peeters

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La fièvre d’Urbicande, un relato crítico sobre los modelos urbanos

Master thesis by Patricia López Rodríguez.

This study analyses the critical charge in the graphic novel La fièvre d'Urbicande, written and drawn in 1985 by Benoît Peeters and François Schuiten, authors of the comic book series Les cités obscures, the collection in which the comic book that serves as the object of study of this work is framed.

The authors propose a city, known as Urbicande, which follows the progressive urban model, a city centred on efficiency, which makes a radical break with the past and is committed to technical progress. Peeters and Schuiten criticise the oppression that closed planning cities exert on their inhabitants, creating a plot in which the urban settlement itself represents the power it houses and which sees its political stability truncated once an element that alters the urban morphology is introduced.

In this work we have analysed the compositional elements of the comic that the authors have manipulated to construct a monumental image of Urbicande that parodies the type of urban projects proposed at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. In addition, the spaces of Urbicande were examined before and after the appearance of the destabilising element known as the Grid, a structure made of an unknown material which, due to its exponential growth, alters the urban fabric.

In order to carry out this master's thesis, the motivations behind the urban models were explored, as well as their main references. We have also reviewed the critical production generated in reaction to modern urban approaches in order to understand the influence that this urban theory may have had on Peeters and Schuiten, as well as its reflection in La fièvre d'Urbicande.

Download the master thesis in Spanish.