An autistic savant spent 20 years designing an entire city on paper

The French city of Urville exists in two places: in the mind of Gilles Trehin and in the elaborate drawings Trehin created. But what's incredible isn't just the detailed designs he created for the city's architecture and layout, but the entirely plausible history for his fictional city.

When Trehin was 12, he began working on his design opus Urville. Fascinated by the skyscrapers looming over New York city, Trehin gradually developed the idea for a similar sky-reaching economic capital in France. The name Urville comes from Dumont d'Urville, a scientific base in Antarctica.

In addition to his illustrations — some of which you can see below — Trehin turned Urville into a complete worldbuilding exercise, developing a scenario for it's founding:

Urville was founded in the 12th Century BC by the Phoenicians under the name of «Qart-Sous-Yam» (Carsucia). The name was changed in Urbis (Urville) in the 1st Century BC under the Roman occupation. Urville was the 3rd city of the Roman Empire until the 5th century AC. In the 3rd century AC, it had already near 250 000 inhabitants.

Imagining the impact of the French Revolution:

In 1789, during the French Revolution, Urville has 2.8 millions inhabitants, but the number of habitations became too limited to host the huge population growth due to the Industrial Revolution. In order to cope, the authorities of Urville call upon the famous town-planner Oscar Laballière (1803/ 1883) to start gigantic urban projects which are still outlining Urville even today.

As well as the impact of the World Wars:

As much as the city was spared during the 1st World War, It suffered bombing during the 2nd World War. However, the people of Urville paid a high human price : nearly 300 000 people were killed during the 1st World War and more than 200 000 people during the 2nd World War.

After the 2nd World War France knows a huge move of people from the countrysides to the cities. With this phenomenon Urville population went from 7.9 millions to 1.6 millions inhabitants, in 1990, just 40 years later.

Trehin's architectural designs reflect these imagined historical events. You can take a longer visit to the city in Trehin's Urville book, or take a shorter jaunt in this article from the Wisconsin Medical Society.

[via Brain Pickings]

An autistic savant spent 20 years designing an entire city on paper

An autistic savant spent 20 years designing an entire city on paper

An autistic savant spent 20 years designing an entire city on paperS

An autistic savant spent 20 years designing an entire city on paper

An autistic savant spent 20 years designing an entire city on paper

An autistic savant spent 20 years designing an entire city on paper

An autistic savant spent 20 years designing an entire city on paperS

An autistic savant spent 20 years designing an entire city on paperS

An autistic savant spent 20 years designing an entire city on paper