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Architecture and Dissidence: Utopia as Method

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nathaniel ColemanORCiD


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Association of “architecture” with “dissidence” reveals an oxymoronic conceptual structure. The problem is not so much one of precedent ‐ the paradox of looking to the past as a guide to nonconformist action in the present ‐ as a logical impossibility. Architecture’s near total capture by whichever system prevails renders futile almost all attempts at escape from the given. Even Paper Architecture offers little relief from the near impossibility of doing anything beyond what is already possible. In fact, the visionary fantasies of Paper Architecture are escapist above all else. Although direct action offers up the possibility of acting upon the restrictions of the world, it usually takes an extra-architectural shape. Here I am thinking of the dissident Italian architect Danilo Dolci (1924‐97), whose critical practice took the form of making community by resisting the government and mafia alike. In a more general way, this article considers utopia as method.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Coleman N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Architecture and Culture

Year: 2014

Volume: 2

Issue: 1

Pages: 45-60

Print publication date: 01/03/2014

Online publication date: 28/04/2015

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 2050-7828

ISSN (electronic): 2050-7836

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.2752/175145214X13796096691481


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