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  • Alternative Architecture: A Documentary History
    Caroline Maniaque-Benton and Simon Sadler
    MIT Press, 2014
    Caroline Maniaque-Benton & Simon Sadler

Roberta Price, Rock House upper room under construction, 1972, Libre, CO. Courtesy of Roberta Price.

Alternative Architecture: A Documentary History is a book project with MIT Press that collects and interprets source texts and images on the activist uses of architectural and environmental design from the 1960s to the present. It aims to reveal continuities and discontinuities across alternative architectural practices and debates over the last half-century, forming a geography stretching eastwards from California to India. Our use of the term "alternative architecture" refers to practices which challenged mainstream architectural education, professional practice, and capital-intensive production. Alternative architecture promoted auto-didactic, self-built, communitarian, social activist, ecological, and low-cost building practices. These largely grew out of the 1960s U.S. counterculture, suggesting a practical means by which to secede from Cold War–culture. An undeclared movement, alternative architecture affected architects and governmental policy, attracting global attention and developing regional offshoots around the world.

Caroline Maniaque-Benton is associate professor of architecture at the Ecole Nationale Superieure d'Architecture, Paris Malaquais. Maniaque-Benton is the author of Le Corbusier and the Maisons Jaoul (2009). Her works on alternative architectural practice and thinking in the 1960s has been published in Ant Farm: 1968-1978 (University of California Press, 2004) and Space, Travel, and Architecture (Ashgate, 2009). Her recent book French Encounters with the American Counterculture 1960–1980, is published by Ashgate (2011) and excerpted in Parentheses. She is past fellow of the Canadian Centre for Architecture.

Simon Sadler is professor of architectural and urban history at the University of California, Davis. His publications include Archigram: Architecture without Architecture (MIT Press, 2005); Non-Plan: Essays on Freedom, Participation and Change in Modern Architecture and Urbanism (Architectural Press, 2000, coeditor, Jonathan Hughes); and The Situationist City (MIT Press, 1998). His current research centers on countercultural architecture, Californian design, and design's bid to make lifeworlds intelligible and manageable. He serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Architectural Education, the advisory board of the Architect's Newspaper, the advisory board of the Architectural Humanities Research Association (UK), and is a past fellow of the Paul Mellon Center for Studies in British Art.