1st Edition

The New Urban Condition
Criticism and Theory from Architecture and Urbanism

ISBN 9780367607609
Published April 8, 2021 by Routledge
314 Pages 100 B/W Illustrations

USD $44.95

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Book Description

This book explores new architectural and design perspectives on the contemporary urban condition. While architects and urban designers have long maintained that their actions, drawings, and buildings are “post-critical,” this book seeks to expand the critical dimension of architecture and urbanism.

In a series of historical and theoretical studies, this book examines how the materialities, forms, and practices of architecture and urban design can act as a critique towards the new urban condition. It proposes not only new concepts and theories but also instruments of analysis and reflection to better understand the current counter-hegemonic tendencies in both disciplinary strategies and appropriation tactics.

The diversely international selection of chapters, from Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United States, and the Netherlands, combine different theoretical and empirical perspectives into a new analysis of the city and architecture. Demonstrating the need for new critical urban and architectural thinking that engages with the challenges and processes of the contemporary urban condition, this volume will be a thought-provoking read for academics and students in architecture, urban design, geography, political science, and more.

Table of Contents


Leandro Medrano, Luiz Recaman, and Tom Avermaete

Part I: Theoretical Tenets

1. Remains of Architectural Reason

Luiz Recamaìn

2. On Architecture and Urban Space After the Ideological Crisis of Neoliberalism

Leandro Medrano

3. Constructing the Commons: Towards another Architectural Theory of the City?

Tom Avermaete

4. Erving Goffman’s Sociology of Physical Space for Architects and Urban Designers

Fraya Frehse

5. Broken Windows, Revisited

Reinhold Martin

6. Architecture and the Critical Project

Sven-Olov Wallenstein

7. Ruins of the Future

Otília Arantes

Part II: Rethinking Spatial Rhythms

8. Henri Lefebvre and the Morphology of a Spatial Dialectic

César Simoni Santos

9. Anthropophagic Phenomenology: Encounters at Lina Bo’s SESC Pompeia Cultural and Leisure Center

Natalia Escobar Castrillón

10. Incremental Housing: A Short History of an Idea

Nelson Mota

11. The Bubble, the Arrow, and the Area: Urban Design and Diagrammatic Concepts of Human Action

Daniel Koch

Part III: Contemporary Spatial Forms of the City

12. The Subaltern City: Revisiting the Materialist Critique of Urban Form

Marta Caldeira

13. The Chronicles of Neo

Janina Gosseye

14. The Legitimized Reproduction of a Corporate Typology: Dispositions of Architectural Form in the LEED® Rating System

Raphael Grazziano

15. What Ever Happened to Social Housing?

Sergio Martín Blas

16. Five Fronts for One Single Position: Critical Strategies for Contemporary Pedagogy in the Subject of Architectural Design

Carmen Espegel Alonso and Daniel Movilla Vega


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Leandro Medrano is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of Sao Paulo (FAUUSP). His main work addresses the relationship between social housing and urban development. Theory of urbanism, urban sociology, urban design, and economic development are some of the research fields involved in his research. Medrano has also been involved in partnerships with research groups from other universities, such as GSD Harvard, KTH, UPM, and TUDelft. In addition to teaching and research activities, he has served in many positions at the university, such as Coordinator of the Architecture and Urbanism Course, Board of Directors of the Science Museum of Unicamp, and Executive Committee of the Museum of Visual Arts at Unicamp. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the journal Pós.Revista FAUUSP and coordinator of the research group Critical Thinking and Contemporary City (PC3). His work has been published in books and academic journals.

Luiz Recaman is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the University of Sao Paulo (FAUUSP). His main work addresses the critique of architecture and aesthetics, and modern Brazilian and contemporary architecture. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Revista ARA FAUUSP and coordinator of the research group Critical Thinking and Contemporary City (PC3). Prof. Recaman is co-author of Brazil’s Modern Architecture (Phaidon, 2004) and Vilanova Artigas—Habitação e Cidade na Modernização Brasileira (Editora da Unicamp, 2014).

Tom Avermaete is Professor for the History and Theory of Urban Design at ETH Zurich. His research focuses on the architecture of the city and the changing roles, approaches, and tools of architects and urban designers from a cross-cultural perspective. Recent book publications include Architecture of the Welfare State (with Swenarton and Van Den Heuvel, 2014), The Balcony (with Koolhaas, 2014), Casablanca—Chandigarh (with Casciato, 2015), Shopping Towns Europe (with Gosseye, 2017), and Acculturating the Shopping Centre (with Gosseye, 2018). Avermaete curated the exhibitions In the Desert of Modernity (Berlin, Casablanca, 2008, 2009), How architects, experts, politicians, international agencies and citizens negotiate modern planning: Casablanca Chandigarh (Montreal, 2015), and Lived-In: The Modern City as Performative Infrastructure (Antwerp, 2017).