Belgian comic book artist François Schuiten is famous for creating rich and fantastical cityscapes, with shades of steampunk and Art Nouveau, envisioning a future dominated not by faceless office buildings, but by romantic and innovative architecture.

The son of an architect, Schuiten grew up fascinated by architecture and horrified by the increasing destruction of historic buildings in Brussels in favor of more generic modern structures. This sense has greatly influenced his most famous work, the ongoing Les Cités Obscures (often translated as Cities of the Fantastic), a collaboration with writer Benoît Peeters.

Les Cités Obscures is set on a "counter-Earth," a planet similar to our own that exists on the exact opposite side of the sun. The Obscure Cities are versions of Earth cities, but are ruled by architects, and so architecture is the world's driving force. Jules Verne is a recurring character in the series, and a key influence on the comic's technology and aesthetics.

In addition to Les Cités Obscures, Schuiten created Les Terres Creuses (The Hollow Grounds) with his brother Luc Schuiten, and designed the Arts et Métiers Métro station in Paris (inspired by Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea), and the Hallepoort station in Brussels.

[Urbicande]

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

The Otherworldly Architecture of François Schuiten

The Otherworldly Architecture of François Schuiten

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

The Otherworldly Architecture of François Schuiten

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

The Otherworldly Architecture of François Schuiten

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

The Otherworldly Architecture of François Schuiten

The Otherworldly Architecture of François Schuiten

The Otherworldly Architecture of François Schuiten

The Otherworldly Architecture of François Schuiten

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

Arts et Métiers

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

Arts et Métiers

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

Hallepoort

The Otherworldly Architecture of François SchuitenS

Hallepoort