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Utopia and Modern Architecture?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nathaniel ColemanORCiD


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It is a commonplace to describe 20th century modernist architecture as utopian, but doping so arguably has less to do with putative social agendas than with explaining the failure of such work to deliver on extravagant promises. By interrogating utopian declarations for 20th century architecture and visionary urban representations, the aim of this article is to sharpen the loose pairing of modernist architecture and Utopia. Consideration is also given to how undue emphasis on representation supports post-rationalisations of failure as the inevitable teleology of Utopia, which serves only to empty architecture of its ethical function. To conclude, some preliminary thoughts on the prospects of a more convincingly utopian modern architecture are advanced.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Coleman N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Architectural Research Quarterly

Year: 2012

Volume: 16

Issue: 4

Pages: 339-348

Print publication date: 09/07/2013

ISSN (print): 1359-1355

ISSN (electronic): 1474-0516

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1359135513000225

Notes: Article has been reviewed and revised, now awaiting editorial comments and anticipated publication date, which is anticipated as being 2013.


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