7 Must-Read Architectural Manifestos

August 26, 2014 /


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 communicated!



Ten Books on Architecture

By Vitruvius

Amazon UK

Amazon US



Toward an Architecture

By Le Corbusier

Amazon UK

Amazon US



Experiencing Architecture

By Steen Eiler Rasmussen




The Architecture of the City

By Aldo Rossi

Amazon UK

Amazon US



Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture

By Roberto Venturi

Amazon UK

Amazon US

theory-Delirious New York.jpg


Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan

By Rem Koolhaas

Amazon UK

Amazon US



Yes Is More: An Archicomic on Architectural Evolution

By Bjarke Ingels 

Amazon UK

Amazon US


Last updated: September 18, 2014

See also

Copyright 1999 - 2017 arcspace all rights reserved.