1st Edition

Unbuilt Utopian Cities 1460 to 1900: Reconstructing their Architecture and Political Philosophy

ISBN 9781138573307
Published November 30, 2017 by Routledge
262 Pages

USD $51.95

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Book Description

Bringing together ten utopian works that mark important points in the history and an evolution in social and political philosophies, this book not only reflects on the texts and their political philosophy and implications, but also, their architecture and how that architecture informs the political philosophy or social agenda that the author intended. Each of the ten authors expressed their theory through concepts of community and utopian architecture, but each featured an architectural solution at the centre of their social and political philosophy, as none of the cities were ever built, they have remained as utopian literature. Some of the works examined are very well-known, such as Tommaso Campanella’s Civitas Solis, while others such as Joseph Michael Gandy’s Designs for Cottages, are relatively obscure. However, even with the best known works, this volume offers new insights by focusing on the architecture of the cities and how that architecture represents the author’s political philosophy. It reconstructs the cities through a 3-D computer program, ArchiCAD, using Artlantis to render. Plans, sections, elevations and perspectives are presented for each of the cities. The ten cities are: Filarete - Sforzina; Albrecht Dürer - Fortified Utopia; Tommaso Campanella - The City of the Sun; Johann Valentin Andreae - Christianopolis; Joseph Michael Gandy - An Agricultural Village; Robert Owen - Villages of Unity and Cooperation; James Silk Buckingham - Victoria; Robert Pemberton - Queen Victoria Town; King Camp Gillette - Metropolis; and Bradford Peck - The World a Department Store. Each chapter considers the work in conjunction with contemporary thought, the political philosophy and the reconstruction of the city. Although these ten cities represent over 500 years of utopian and political thought, they are an interlinked thread that had been drawn from literature of the past and informed by contemporary thought and society. The book is structured in two parts:



Dr Tessa Morrison is a senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle, Australia. Her research is multi-disciplinary and incorporates philosophy, mathematics, and the history of architecture along with 3-D computer graphical analysis. She has continued to develop a reputation in the area of architectural history and has a sustained and long term research program with international outputs. Over the last few years she has specialised in seventeenth and eighteenth century studies in architectural history and the history of ideas, including a translation and commentary of Isaac Newton’s reconstruction manuscript on Solomon’s Temple published in Isaac Newton’s Temple of Solomon and his Reconstruction of Sacred Architecture. Her current research is on architects and cities from sixteenth to the nineteenth century that have never been built but have had significant influence through the centuries.


’The subject of unbuilt utopian cities is fascinating. While built cities may survive for centuries, they are vulnerable to decay and destruction through natural forces, or, in our increasingly dystopian global society, through war and terrorism. Unbuilt, they hover endlessly between the potential and the actual. Tessa Morrison’s approach is both scholarly and accessible. The illustrations are illuminating, and the historical context for the evolution of the ideas is explained. This challenges the reader to consider the utopian plans from the perspective of their creators, who were imagining the future, rather than analysing them with the benefit of hindsight.’ Lorna Davidson, Director, New Lanark Trust and Hon. Secretary of the Utopian Studies Society (Europe)