Manifesto: Towards a New Humanism in Architecture

This manifesto is the big reminder not to be scared of being scared or being scary… I loved reading it.” Thomas Heatherwick

Today, there is no discourse in architecture except the droning mantra of sustainability and so, while architecture is enjoying a resurgence, in fact it has never been more vacuous, pliant, parochial and insular. In such a non-political age, maybe this is hardly surprising. But more worryingly, social commentators and practitioners of art and architecture display no collective sense of outrage at this vacuum. The only vision available to architects today, it seems, is a demoralised one that assumes the worst. People envision the future with trepidation rather than expectation. As a result, architects are told to minimise their footprint on the earth, rather than stamping their vision on the planet. The Manifesto: Towards a New Humanism in Architecture rejects the deadening hand of conservative thinking in favour of exploration, experimentation and freedom of expression. Launched on the 70th anniversary of Andre Breton and Leon Trotsky’s ‘Manifesto: Towards a Free Revolutionary Art’ this manifesto takes inspiration from the radical, avant-gardism of the past, but has a clear eye focussed firmly on the future. It is will no doubt irritate, challenge and polarise opinion and is intended to draw out anyone with a sense of anger at the state of contemporary architecture. In an era of uncritical non-debate, we urge you to form your own opinion on the state of architecture today and its remedy. Read ‘A Time for Manifestos’ by Austin Williams. Download the manifesto here

Manifesto: Towards a New Humanism in Architecture is featured in Penguin Modern Classics 100 Artists’ Manifestos: From the Futurists to the Stuckists

I love this manifesto – it has guts and irreverence and gusto. Almost every aspect of it is designed to upset and maybe that is the point. It is wilful and dangerous, with a strong tone of belligerence.” Will Alsop,

The worm has turned. No more limp wristed architecture but buildings with a hairy chest and a firm fist.Jack Pringle, ex-RIBA president

A sharp and provocative manifesto whose core reminds us that architects span the disciplines to find multivalent solutions, it is ultimately optimistic and a timely antidote to a current intellectual malaise.” Amin Taha, Amin Taha Architects

What’s not to agree with????Peter Eisenman

Humanism and Architecture – surely an oxymoronMira Bar-Hillel, Evening Standard

Your manifesto induces conflicting emotions…. I, like Alsop, love this manifesto’s guts, irreverence and gusto…. I like your style… but… I can’t entertain humanism from a group whose name starts with ‘Man’Denise Scott-Brown, Venturi Scott Brown and Associates Architects

The manifesto is hugely important in kicking architects towards something more meaningful.Kim Quazi, director, Arup Architects