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Imagining and Making the World

Reconsidering Architecture and Utopia


Edited By Nathaniel Coleman

Although the association between architecture and utopia (the relationship between imagining a new world and exploring how its new conditions can best be organized) might appear obvious from within the domain of utopian studies, architects have long attempted to dissociate themselves from utopia. Concentrating on the difficulties writers from both perspectives experience with the topic, this collection interrogates the meta-theoretical problematic for ongoing intellectual work on architecture and utopia. The essays explore divergent manifestations of the play of utopia on architectural imagination, situated within specific historical moments, from the early Renaissance to the present day. The volume closes with an exchange between Nathaniel Coleman, Ruth Levitas, and Lyman Tower Sargent, reflecting on the contributions the essays make to situating architecture and utopia historically and theoretically within utopian studies, and to articulating utopia as a method for inventing and producing better places. Intriguing to architects, planners, urban designers, and others who study and make the built environment, this collection will also be of interest to utopian studies scholars, students, and general readers with a concern for the interrelationships between the built environment and social dreaming.

«This collection is a must for anyone interested in attempts to make the world a better place. Drawing together the work of key scholars in the multi-disciplinary field of utopian studies and leading thinkers in the field of architecture, Nathaniel Coleman argues for a symbiotic relationship between utopia and architecture.» (Lucy Sargisson, University of Nottingham)
«The great variety of work considered here – from Ildefons Cerdà’s visionary but very successfully realized Barcelona plan to Patrick Geddes’s methods for the urban planner - suggests a fresh and enormously varied panorama of realistic thinking about city form. Perhaps the buildings of the future may be the product of a new dialogue between designer and inhabitant in which the utopian thinking this book so ably advocates will inevitably be an essential factor.» (Joseph Rykwert, University of Pennsylvania)
«A fine collection of essays that makes an important contribution to the complex and undertheorized relationship between utopianism and architecture. Providing a uniquely cross-disciplinary approach, the essays explore architectural theory and praxis in literary and social utopias, and, vice versa, utopian theory and praxis in architecture.» (Nicole Pohl, Oxford Brookes University)