Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Utopic Pedagogies: Alternatives to Degenerate Architecture

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nathaniel ColemanORCiD


Full text for this publication is not currently held within this repository. Alternative links are provided below where available.


Although Utopia makes reasonably frequent appearances within humanities and social science teaching, it remains at the far periphery of architecture education. Thus, any essay proposing the relevance of utopic pedagogies for architecture education, and its subsequent professional practice, must come to terms with the strange absence of Utopia from the heart of the curriculum (and from the concerns of most architecture students, educators, and practitioners). With the pervasive omission of Utopia in mind, in this article I will first offer an overview of how and why Utopia has become anathema for architecture education (no doubt associated with the failures of orthodox modern architecture during the post–World War II years and the explanation of this failure as down to Utopia), followed by counterexamples drawn from my own teaching, in which Utopia is as much the subject as the object of architecture and urban design education, in equal measure for history, theory, and design. If the postmodern conviction in architecture is that Utopia equals totalitarianism and defeat, my argument is that without Utopia, architecture and urban design have no vocation other than to adorn capital and its processes (which of course explains its disappearance: Neoliberalism confirms Utopia's irrelevance, or does it?).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Coleman N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Utopian Studies

Year: 2012

Volume: 23

Issue: 2

Pages: 314-354

ISSN (print): 1045991X

ISSN (electronic): 21549648

Publisher: Penn State University Press


DOI: 10.5325/utopianstudies.23.2.0314


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric