The City as a Critical Project: Toward an Architecture of the Multitude

Cameron McEwan*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The aim of this article is to develop a framework for rethinking the critical project in architecture. It puts forward a theoretical and spatial grammar through two related arguments. One argument is predominantly textual, which develops a theoretical framework and conceptual grammar for a critical project. It reads the thought and projects of the architects Aldo Rossi and Mario Gandelsonas as well as the writings of the theorist Michael Hays; a body of work focused on the idea of the city and critical architecture. It places that thought in relation to the thought of political theorist Paolo Virno in particular, and more broadly with the ideas presented by Giorgio Agamben, Hannah Arendt and Slavoj Žižek, whose work focuses on the relation between the critical, the political and the subject. The other argument is visual and develops a language of form, space and representation. It presents a suite of city projects by The City as a Critical Project design research unit, a final year undergraduate-level architectural history and theory unit run by the author at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Institute of Architecture. The unit uses architecture to think critically and politically about the city as the place where subject positions are framed and new visions and thought on an alternative future can be imagined. Both arguments are of complimentary importance. They place thought and its formalisation in dialogue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-46
JournalScroope: Cambridge Architecture Journal
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


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