7 Must-Read Architectural Manifestos
The architectural manifesto has become a somewhat unfashionable genre. Unfortunately so, as all architects should let themselves be reminded from time to time of just how much debate a few adequately polemical lines in a book can spark.
Some people claim that the manifesto has suffered an unavoidable fate, as the form can't embrace the multitude of challenges facing architects today. However, the manifesto in its purest form - as an uncompromising "call to change" - offers a unique platform to isolate some of these challenges and discuss all possible means of dealing with them.
Since Koolhaas' subversive and deliberately digressive 1978 "retroactive manifesto" about Manhattan, the writing of architects has become "domesticated", lacking invention, investigation or interpretation. It has become objective and descriptive rather than subjective and polemical.
Perhaps with the one notable exception of Bjarke Ingels' 2009 exhibition-catalogue-meets-monograph-meets-manifesto bestseller 'Yes Is More'. It was impudent and brash, sure, but perhaps it was also just what the manifesto needed in order to retain its relevance.
Because we need manifestos, perhaps now more than
ever. As drivers of a more passionate and qualified public debate
on architecture and society as a whole. Below you'll find a small
handful of the most compulsory manifestos - read them and see how
bold opinions can be insistently and passionately
Last updated: September 18, 2014