Theory and Criticism
The influence of utopian thought on modern architecture
I am a 17 year old living in London; beginning an 'Extended Project' qualification discussing the influence of philosophical and political thought on modern architecture, primarily with reference to Le Corbusier and the Haus Wittgenstein.

I am approaching a range of architects and asking about their views on the subject and as members in the field, was wondering if any of you had any suggestions as to what lines of argument might be interesting for me to explore(specific schools, architects, philsophers etc.) and any personal views on what influence this has had on your own work. Please treat this as an invitation to share your opinions/suggestions/any thing you would like to add!

Many thanks.
Elizabeth Sarah
The influence of utopian thought on modern architecture
Elizabeth, by giving your age you are leading with your chin (a boxing idiom), because the teenage years are years of uneven, uncertain development and self-discovery and probably will not reflect the you of later years. Therefore, at best, people will recall their youthful enthusiasms and follies (and wince) and not be as considerate with you as you would expect or hope.

Another aspect is (to misquote an old saying) "Youthful idealism tends to rush in where angels fear to tread." I know the feeling, because when I was in my late teens, I was reading heavy weight left-wing tracts in the original (Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Mao Tse Tung, etc) and for a brief moment in time I thought that Communism was THE answer to all of the world`s ills. Then I read "The ABC of Communism" by Bukharin and Preobrazhensky (both later shot by Josef Stalin) and slowly realised that Communism does not work, not because these ideals were bad, but because they are unworkable by humans.

Moving on to "the influence of utopian thought on modern architecture" it has taken me a life-time to realise that utopian idealism infested not only the human areas of thought known as politics and philosophy but art and architecture as well; to the point where these 100 year old utopian idealisms are now so engrained in our systems of thought that the concept of culture has been exterminated.

For example, about 100 years ago, Adolf Loos wrote "Ornament is Crime" but what he meant was "Culture is Crime" because in the Brave New World of Utopia, culture meant difference and and difference meant inequality and therefore culture, difference, etc, had to be systematically cleansed from all human systems of thought. Today, we call such behaviour "ethnic-cleansing" and cry out against it, but which is worse, an "ethnic-cleansing" which seeks to change one culture into another? or an "utopian ethnic-cleansing" which seeks to exterminate all of our human cultures?
Frank John Snelling
The influence of utopian thought on modern architecture
Elizabeth, no other nibbles yet...
Frank John Snelling
The influence of utopian thought on modern architecture
Elizabeth, Okay the short version of my earlier post "The influence of utopian thought on modern architecture was and is massive, because `culture is crime` is another way of saying `cultural or vernacular architecture is crime`. Therefore anyone who wants to design cultural or vernacular architecture is a criminal."
Frank John Snelling


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