Abstract

Although Utopia makes reasonably frequent appearances within humanities and social science teaching, it remains at the far periphery of architecture education. Thus, any essay proposing the relevance of utopic pedagogies for architecture education, and its subsequent professional practice, must come to terms with the strange absence of Utopia from the heart of the curriculum (and from the concerns of most architecture students, educators, and practitioners). With the pervasive omission of Utopia in mind, in this article I will first offer an overview of how and why Utopia has become anathema for architecture education (no doubt associated with the failures of orthodox modern architecture during the post–World War II years and the explanation of this failure as down to Utopia), followed by counterexamples drawn from my own teaching, in which Utopia is as much the subject as the object of architecture and urban design education, in equal measure for history, theory, and design. If the postmodern conviction in architecture is that Utopia equals totalitarianism and defeat, my argument is that without Utopia, architecture and urban design have no vocation other than to adorn capital and its processes (which of course explains its disappearance: Neoliberalism confirms Utopia's irrelevance, or does it?).

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