• Utopie: Texts and Projects, 1967-1978
    Craig Buckley and Jean-Louis Violeau
    Semiotext(e) and MIT Press, 2011
    Semiotexte Limited

From Utopie: Texts and Projects 1967–1978 (Semiotext(e) and MIT Press, 2011)

The short-lived grouping of architects, sociologists, and urbanists known as Utopie, active in Paris from 1967 to 1978, was the product of several factors: the student protests for the reform of architectural education, the unprecedented expansion and replanning of the Parisian urban fabric carried out by the government of Charles de Gaulle, and the domestication of military and industrial technologies by an emerging consumer society. The group’s collaborative publications included the work of Jean Aubert, Isabelle Auricoste, Jean Baudrillard, Catherine Cot, Charles Goldblum, Jean-Paul Jungmann, Henri Lefebvre, René Lourau, Antoine Stinco, and Hubert Tonka. Offering a militant alternative to professional urban planning journals, these writers not only formulated a critique of the technocratic and administrative rule over a disabled and alienated urban society but also projected an ephemeral urban poetics. 

With ties to the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSBA) in central Paris and to the sociology department established by Henri Lefebvre at the suburban campus of Nanterre, the group challenged postwar modernization and urban planning and questioned the roles into which architects, sociologists, and urban planners had been cast. Utopie makes the group’s diverse body of theoretical work accessible in English for the first time, offering translations of more than twenty key texts. Designed in a facsimile format that follows the innovative graphic layouts of the journals, pamphlets, posters, and articles produced by Utopie, the volume not only provides the first thorough overview of the group’s activities but also seeks to capture Utopie’s linkage of architectural and urban theory to radical publication strategies.

Craig Buckley teaches at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, where he is also the Director of Publications. His research focuses upon relationships between architectural practice, new genres of publication, and politics in the postwar period. Recent books include Dan Graham’s New Jersey (coedited with Mark Wasiuta, Lars Müller Publishers, 2012), Utopie: Texts and Projects 1967-1978 (with Jean-Louis Violeau, Semiotext(e) 2011) and Clip/Stamp/Fold: The Radical Architecture of Little Magazines 196X-197X (with Beatriz Colomina, ACTAR Press 2010). His writing and criticism have appeared in the journals Anarchitekur, Log, October, and Perspecta, among others.

Jean-Louis Violeau is a sociologist and researcher at the Architecture-Culture-Société laboratory of the Ecole d'architecture de Paris-Malaquais in Paris.

Best known for its introduction of French theory to American readers, Semiotext(e) has been one of America’s most influential independent presses since its inception more than three decades ago. Publishing works of theory, fiction, madness, economics, satire, sexuality, science fiction, activism and confession, Semiotext(e’)s highly curated list has famously melded high and low forms of cultural expression into a nuanced and polemical vision of the present.