All Photos Courtesy of Studio Lindfors from BLDGBlog

The thing about steampunk as a cultural trend is that it’s often combines the best of the past with the future. In addition one reason for the rise of this aesthetic is the growing theme emerging around the scenarios of high water in a postapocalypse world whereby people have to be creative with electronics pipes and brass and actually do use blimps to get around. Which brings up Geoff Manaugh’s new book the BLDG Blog Book. Known for combining the best parts of his esoteric design blog plus sci-fi and pop culture mixed together his blog and topics tap into many aspects of the future with a foot still left firmly grounded in the past. Since 2004 when he started his blog it has since become a popular destination ranging from architects to steampunkers. His book of the same name is becoming a must-have for a range of designers and others who are simply fans of the future.

However in his latest entry are images by Studio Lindfors a NYC architect firm that has gained a reputation for taking fantastic postapocalyptic themes and making them seem quite reasonable -if not downright hopeful. In many ways they represent today’s new generation of making something better out of their own urban detritus despite how badly things really are.

Studio Lindfors gained major press after a design competition in New York City called “What if New York City ” based on the concept of what would happen to New York City if it were hit by a Category 3 hurricane. They created what they called Cloud Skippers and a Cloud City where by people would live in pods floating about the city but connected to a power supply down below. This would free-up the city for the workers to fix things plus provide a safe-haven for the population. (In his blog Geoff of course speculated why wait? why not live in pods now?).

In this series of images released on BLDGBblog Studio Lindfors images create an apocalyptic scenario called “Aqualta” whereby people have learned to live with a higher water mark. (There’s also a cute little book out by nature artist Eve Mosher called High Water Mark which tackles this very theme.) In the wake of global warming and the ice caps melting however the images seem more real than sci-fi. What if there was water up to the 4th floor level of NYC and Tokyo?

An aerial highway system (reminiscent of the Bruce Willis flick “The Fifth Element”) of blimps pedestrian bridges gondolas chairlifts and rice fields show how an entire metropolis may move forward living with the so-called disaster. It’s borderline steampunk (with the floating blimps and all) mixed with NYC and Tokyo urbanity and many other aspects of how a generation has moved forward all rolled into one.

According to Geoff “The architects got in touch after reading the urban premise of DJ /rupture’s new album with Matt Shadetek mentioned a few days ago; in an interview with New York magazine /rupture says the new mix “paints a picture of New York 40 years in the future where the water line is at the fourth story of buildings and the rich people are dry in the Catskills. Kids are making music on their cell phones and grilling octopi. So it’s postapocalyptic but not necessarily grim.”

We’ve actually started to see similar aspects of this theme -designing with the inevitability of high water in a postapocalyptic scenario -seeping into various youth culture aspects ranging from street artist depictions T-shirt designers (which is where a lot of leading-edge design prints start) accessory designers from the steampunk scene to manga and anime artists. Expect video games to capture the Aqualta vibe in the near future.