In 1956 Constant was gestating the ideas of Brasilia’s antithesis: New Babylon. Using automation as the tour de force of the new city, New Babylon proposed to abolish the city from the core values of a Le Corbusier driven urbanism. If Brasilia was centralized, bureaucratic and predictably pre-programmed, New Babylon didn’t have a center, possessed no cars, and its people needed no recreation since there was no need to work. New Babylon was the apotheosis of the laissez-faire lifestyle, an Eden for drifters.
Meanwhile in 1956 Victor Gruen’s Southdale Center, the first air conditioned, enclosed shopping mall, opened to the public in a Minneapolis suburb. Southdale Center was the first of a series of buildings that—like the Megastructures—were to create an artificial environment that would free the users from the complications of the city. Was Victor Gruen the architect New Babylon needed? Or was New Babylon the Shopping Mall of the avant-garde?