by Annie Pedret
What the manifesto questions ARE NOT
NOT a pronouncement
NOT a proclamation
NOT a list of declarations
NOT a radical idea
NOT a proposition
NOT a list of tenets
NOT a movement
NOT a coherently stated opinion
NOT principle that motivate work
NOT a polemic/polemical notion
NOT against an enemy
NOT a list of demands & declarations in response to wrong doings
NOT intended to resuscitate manifestos1
NOT antagonizing a group that pits us against them
NOT a prelude of problems
NOT a REJECTION of anything
NOT a DEMAND for architecture
NOT a meaningful concept
NOT a vehicle for criticism
NOT an assertive concept
NOT an idea
NOT a vehicle of reception control
NOT a declaration of intention
NOT a text that calls for a response2
NOT a vehicle for making absolute claims3
NOT a key rhetorical weapon deployed by the historical avant-gardes4
NOT language of rupture and revolution5
NOT vehicle for setting transformative architectural project in motion6
NOT vanguard positioning7
NOT hyperbole, exhortation, and naïveté, misogyny, racism, sympathies for fascism8
NOT following rhetorical conventions9
NOT pointing to a direction
NOT a text that is defined by conviction, urgency, immediacy, seeking10
NOT a text that seeks to push the domain of words as close as possible to the domain of deeds11
NOT force and persuasion12
NOT a proliferation of injunctions that range from the imperative to the subjunctive13
NOT formulated with model verbs – must, can, shall, will14
NOT an injunction between command and demand15
NOT an injunction of nuanced play between desired and hypothetical stats of affairs16
NOT an injunction between possibility and doubt17
NOT an injunction in the guise of a theses or numbered points18
NOT condensing thought with emphatic precision19
NOT concentrating the effort of the text20
NOT full of pointers with pronouns indicating the place and time of utterance, and the objects of concern: here, now, today, this21
NOT operating as a special kind of text that draws the reader’s attention to the page in order to direct it back to something outside the text back out toward the world22
NOT full of pronouns like I, you, we23
NOT referring to a defined group, but also to a larger unspecified collectivity the reader is invited to join24
NOT mobilizing a powerful provisional constituency, proposing forms of solidarity that can allow an individual to appear as being many25
NOT using the pronoun “we” as a way to run roughshod over differences26
NOT closely allied to power (16C kings and princes) 27
NOT a new type of militant document that recodifies elements from traditions of scholarly debate and religious revelation (Martin Luther’s 151728
NOT a tool of political struggle (Marx & Engels Communist Manifesto, 1848) 29
NOT a particular rupture in authority associate with the breakdown of royal control30
NOT political and revolutionary31
NOT challenging rather than confirming the legitimacy of a particular authority32
NOT a projection that calls forth a subject, party, group, or class which would emerge to realize the authority of the manifesto
NOT projects cast towards the future34
NOT figures of architectural imagination that will be chased for years before being realized in built form35
NOT declarations of polemical confidence and law-like clarity36
NOT seize the authority that he or she does not yet possess without a type of theatrical confidence37
NOT associated with the future38
NOT grounding claims in attacks on prevailing ideas about history39
NOT provoking by means of condensed, biased, and often extreme forms of historical revision40
NOT remaining true to a revolutionary history41
NOT turning against its contemporary legacy42
NOT invoking historical rupture related to the legacy of the avant-garde or technological change43
NOT advancing more conservative agendas44
NOT radically reversing history45
NOT retroactive (Koolhaas’ “retroactive manifesto”)46
NOT announcing an agenda in advance of evidence that might sustain claims47
NOT a pact of complicity the author is seeking with the reader48
NOT challenging the breakup of official bodies49
NOT creating the identities of architects and avant-garde groups50
NOT about a new society51
NOT a manifesto
NOT a unifying theory52
NOT a contract that the authors make with society53
NOT to make trouble55
NOT a contentious statement56
NOT statements of principle57
NOT asserting the backing of history58
NOT asserting the entire revision of history59
NOT asserting a revolution60
NOT a manifesto following the political and cultural manifestos conceived to destroy the authority of the disciplinary treatise [Marx and Marinetti]61
NOT part of the decline of manifestos62
NOT against architecture, like theory of the 1970s and ‘80s63
NOT necessarily inextricably linked to new spaces of operation within emerging forms of media64
NOT the certainty of contemporary treatises dedicated to absorbing architecture seamlessly into the technological world of global development65
NOT a dictate — the declaration of the will of a sovereign, a state, or its military66
NOT an answer
NOT a complaint
NOT an uncompromising call for change67
What the manifesto questions ARE
ARE intimately connected to uncertainty68
ARE a form colored and remade according to its time69
ARE pointing to sources of doubt and objects of concern70
ARE a way to address times of trouble71
ARE a more ambivalent genre than one might expect of a manifesto72
ARE asking what types of authority are being appealed to73
ARE recognizing the important role of making claims upon the discipline74
ARE making recurring claims on history, hierarchies within the field, forms of collective identity75
ARE true to the original task of advancing arguments within the discipline76
ARE taking aim at reigning hierarchies such as environmental, racial and gender norms77
ARE provoking doubt about the ways the field separates the central from the marginal, the consequential from the trivial78
ARE challenging the limits of the discipline, as was the case of the manifestos of the 1960s79
ARE forms of discourse more closely associated with the tradition of a treatise80
ARE , like manifestos, challenging hierarchies of knowledge81
ARE , like manifestos, supporting the formation of new identities82
ARE open to questioning the ever-shifting dynamics of the definition of architecture83
ARE open to questioning the moral economies underlying definitions of architecture84
ARE attempting to identify new form of identification attuned to the fascinations of the period85
ARE in favor of a more flexible type of group identity86
ARE a changed attitude to manifestos87
ARE shifting from charters and collective declarations to groups linked by more informal exchange of individual statements (such as Jacob Bakema’s B.P.H.)88
ARE inhabiting new forms of media that change the form they may inhabit89
ARE claiming new experiences for architectural thinking90
ARE finding forms of media to inhabit at a time when the gap between writing and public has been compressed radically91
ARE about architectural thinking
ARE about thinking long and harder rather than faster in a context when time is in shorter supply92
ARE about culture93
ARE both the product of a group and created by individuals
ARE about expanding the discipline of what we consider to be architecture
ARE about redefining architecture
ARE a particular form of knowledge of this time95
ARE able to be both text and a building when they represent an idea, a concept that has a fresh, provocative, and clear content96
ARE an invention and materialization of a concept97
ARE what architects tended historically to prefer: theses, principles, tenets, definitions, or projects, rather than outright manifestos
ARE an attempt to preserve the essence of what architects are purporting to destroy98
ARE replacing the short and sharp manifesto with discursive, interpretive, analytical, quasi-philosophical explorations99
ARE searching for guiding principles that could authorize architecture’s role in a newly heterogeneous world100
ARE in search of words that have social and architectural resonance101
ARE looking for a form that might have new life as a conversation or discussion102
ARE a work of theory
ARE about ambition, dreams, and aspirations103
ARE about omissions, oppositions and eradications104
What some architecture Manifestos today are AGAINST and FOR
AGAINST critical reasoning and theories of a failed practice105
a discipline that makes absurd claims106
architecture remaining in its ideological impasse107
Modernism’s attempt to plan and control reality allied to capitalist systems & totalitarian impulses108
architecture that serves as propaganda and marketing for political and economic systems109
the dystopic modern city110
offering concrete or real alternatives111
ideological impasse in architecture i.e. Le Corbusier, Mies113
the misfires of architecture in theory and practice114
FOR social responsibility115
telling stories and narratives118
evoking imaginative responses119
subversive stories about architecture and the city120
a narrative for architecture122
a philosophy of jokes123
what architecture could or should be124
subverting foam models with foam ideas125
substance behind and with images126
daring to think127
collective intelligence of architecture128
What About It? 129
AGAINST dropping the archispeak, stopping the silos130
FOR opening up art for all131
more equitable architecture132
FOR inclusivity through the lens of identity & race133
FOR a transdisciplinary future134
FOR practicing solidarity across differences135
FOR prioritize redressing inequalities through architecture, built environment, planning, policy and research136
FOR decarbonize & ecological regeneration137
FOR cultural transformation138
FOR systemic change139
FOR radically transform the profession140
FOR expression for hybrid identity and contested territory141
FOR speculative histories, futures and design languages142
FOR future of public space143
FOR enthusiasm for small sites144
FOR intersection of architecture, urban strategy, art & performance146
FOR playfulness & precision147
FOR social & performative alongside physical built component148
FOR imaginative future scenarios154
FOR questioning our understanding of the built environment155
1 Anthony Vidler, “From Manifesto to Discourse,” in After the Manifesto: Writing, Architecture and Media in a New Century, (New York: GSAPP/T6 Ediciones, 2014), 34.
2 Craig Buckley, “After the Manifesto,” in After the Manifesto: Writing, Architecture, and Media in a New Century (New York: GSAPP Books/T6 Ediciones, 2014), 4.
10 Ibid., 7.
33 Ibid., 8.
41 Ibid., 11
44 Ibid., 12.
48 Ibid., 15.
49 Ibid., 19.
50 Ibid., 20.
51 Tschumi, “Architectural Manifestos,” in After the Manifesto: Writing, Architecture, and Media in a New Century (New York: GSAPP Books/T6 Ediciones, 2014), 42.
52 Ibid., 43.
53 Ibid., 46.
55 Anthony Vidler, “From Manifesto to Discourse, 23.
56 Ibid., 24.
58 Ibid., 28.
61 Ibid., 29.
62 Ibid., 34.
63 Ibid., 36.
64 Buckley, “After the Manifesto,” 19.
65 Vidler, “From Manifesto to Discourse,” 39.
66 Ibid., 24.
67 CJ Lim and Simon Dickens, “In Search of Architectural Narratives and Manifestos,” The Architecture Schools Database, The Bartlett, 2017-2018, http://schools.benchernett.com/design/in-search-of-architectural-narratives-and-manifestos/
68 Buckley, “After the Manifesto,” 8.
69 Ibid. 4, 8.
70 Ibid., 8.
72 Ibid., 8.
75 Ibid. 13.
76 Ibid. 12.
77 Ibid., 13.
78 Ibid., 13.
79 Ibid., 14.
81 Ibid., 15.
82 Ibid., 16.
85 Ibid., 17.
86 Ibid., 18.
87 Ibid., 19.
89 Ibid., 20.
91 Ibid., 19.
92 Ibid., 21.
93 Tschumi, “Architectural Manifestos,” 42.
96 Ibid., 51-2.
97 Ibid., 52, 53.
98 Vidler, “From Manifesto to Discourse,” 31.
99 Ibid. 35.
100 Ibid., 31.
101 Ibid., 39.
103 Cruz Garcia and Nathalie Frankowski, Narrative Architecture: A Kynical Manifesto (Rotterdam: Nai101, 2019), 16. https://issuu.com/nai010publishers/docs/na_binnenwerk_losse_pag___cover-_issuu.
105 Nadir Lahiji, An Architecture Manifesto: Critical Reason and Theory of a Failed Practice (London: Routledge, 2019)
106 Aaron Betsky, “In Pursuit of an Honest Architecture: A Manifesto,” review of Narrative Architecture: A Kynical Manifesto, by Cruz Garcia & Nathalie Frankowski, Architect Magazine (April 6, 2020), https://www.architectmagazine.com/design/in-pursuit-of-an-honest-architecture-a-manifesto_o.
107 Garcia and Frankowski, quoted in Aaron Betsky, “In Pursuit of an Honest Architecture.”
108 Betsky, “In Pursuit of an Honest Architecture.”
112 Garcia and Frankowski, “Un-Making Architecture: An Anti-Racist Architecture Manifesto,” WAI Architecture Think Tank, https://waithinktank.com/Anti-Racist-Manifesto
114 Garcia and Frankowski, “Narrative Architecture: Manifesto,” WAI Think Tank, https://waithinktank.com/Narrative-Architecture-Manifesto
115 Garcia and Frankowski, quoted in Aaron Betsky, “In Pursuit of an Honest Architecture.”
118 Aaron Betsky, “In Pursuit of an Honest Architecture”
125 Cruz and Frankowski, “WAI Manifesto 2008,” WAI Think Tank, https://waithinktank.com/WAI-Manifesto-2008.
130 Laura Mark, “Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation.” London Festival of Architecture, June 13-30, https://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/digital-festival/event/manifestos-architecture-for-a-new-generation-laura-mark/
133 Afterparti, “Manifestos – Architecture for a New Generation,” London Festival of Architecture, June 13-30, 2020, https://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/digital-festival/event/manifestos-architecture-for-a-new-generation-afterparti/
135 Lo Marshall, “Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation,” London Festival of Architecture, June 13-30, 2020, https://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/digital-festival/event/manifestos-architecture-for-a-new-generation-lo-marshall/
137 Architects Climate Action Network (ACAN), “Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation,” London Festival of Architecture, June 13-30, 2020, https://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/digital-festival/event/manifestos-architecture-for-a-new-generation-acan/
141 Sumayya Vally, Counterspace, “Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation,” London Festival of Architecture, June 13-30, 2020, https://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/digital-festival/event/manifestos-architecture-for-a-new-generation-sumayya-vally-counterspace/
143 Ibiye Camp, “Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation,” London Festival of Architecture, June 13-30, 2020, https://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/digital-festival/event/manifestos-architecture-for-a-new-generation-ibiye-camp/
144 Tom Atkinson, “Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation,” London Festival of Architecture, June 13-30, 2020, https://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/digital-festival/event/manifestos-architecture-for-a-new-generation-tom-atkinson/
145 Jayden Ali, “Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation,” London Festival of Architecture, June 13-30, 2020, https://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/digital-festival/event/manifestos-architecture-for-a-new-generation-jayden-ali/
149 Migrants Bureau, “Manifestos: Architecture for a New Generation,” London Festival of Architecture, June 13-30, 2020, https://www.londonfestivalofarchitecture.org/digital-festival/event/manifestos-architecture-for-a-new-generation-migrants-bureau/
154 Ibiye Camp, “Manifestos – Architecture for a New Generation.”