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Mantownhuman: Manifesto: Towards a New Humanism in Architecture

  1. Choose one contemporary manifesto (1968-present).

Manifesto: Mantownhuman: Manifesto: Towards a New Humanism in Architecture. 2008. by Donald, Williams, Sharro, Alan, Kuypers and Williams (2008).

  1. Analyze the manifesto for the structure of the language form, i.e. does it use images? How are the sentences constructed? Are there other language ‘games’ set out in this document. What is the ‘mechanics’ of the text? How does this text form shape the message and content of the manifesto? What is the context of the manifesto- for whom? Against what?

The development of the genre of architectural manifestoes has been in line with a change in the context of technology, economics, and social (Colomina, 13). The work by Donald et al. has been set to systematically explore such specific points by setting up a polemical cry so as to have a point on the moral and social change in urban architecture. To achieve this, the manifesto has been written not by use of architectural terminology, but rather by use of common language so as not to be limited to constrain of a specific discipline of the context. The structure and form of the manifesto is a product of written text, but it doesn’t make use of images. Nevertheless, it makes a heightened level of visual clarity through the use of examples of urban cities that have the various issues raised in the context incorporated in their architecture and the various elements that are to be factored in urban design and architecture.

The use of text in the manifesto has been done excellently as to create a conviction about a certain issues and to change that conviction into strategies that can be implemented in practice. The objective of using and carefully wrapping text in the manifesto is to write and give a visual form as to set out a well thought out personal conviction about some issues in architecture. As argued by Walker, Enrique, Felicity and Anthony (35) these convictions are concerned with practice and theory. The idea used in the manifesto and as argued by Alloway (33) is to make a visual and linguistic compelling perception.

The period of the manifesto in question is characterised by a notion that architecture and politics have much in common and therefore they can be considered as being quite inseparable. As a result, architecture may compromise to deliver on its potential of validating projects (Jencks, 23). So as to deliver on its mandate, the manifesto seeks to bring on board all the stakeholders in urban design and architecture among them the urban dwelling society and the process involved include re-thinking architecture, re-designing urban architecture, and re-engaging with the society. The manifesto is therefore written for designers or urban architecture. The integration of politics and architecture in urban architecture in the 21st century has greatly changed the architectural manifesto (Walker et al., 5).

The manifesto is set out to counter the disorderly and non-integrated planning in urban cities especially for the purpose of the future city which will definitely require a genre of architecture that understands the relation between architectural modernity and the era of capitalism (Didi-Huberman, 17). The genre of the architectural manifesto as used by Donald et al. is therefore regarded to be not only reflective, but also formative. Based on the fact that the manifesto is a luminal genre as the modernist form par excellence that is between politics and aesthetics, theory and action, and new and the old, it can be argued to be seeking to integrate art and life.

The manifesto is made up of a single language structure and form and there are not any other language ‘games’ used. However, the genre has initially pretended to be overtly prescription in a sense that is purposed to define what the future of architecture is based on a set of certain arguments and principles (Colomina, 57). The manifesto makes used of a revolutionary rationale and this captures the essence of architectural manifesto as a way of creating effective polemic on the issues that have stood out as problematic for the perspective of urban architecture. The manifesto gathers itself as a foremost idealistic and mostly dogmatic vision on the 21st century architecture manifesto so as to show a rejection of the modernistic architects and the classical canons.

To achieve this, the authors of the manifesto have highly used authoritative rhetoric with the purpose of showing the full emancipation from the dogmas which they refer to as negative for example, eclecticism (11). The manifesto in a way depicts how the various players in architecture have struggled with the reverberations of the new merging economic and social change in the urban society. The manifesto is a primary way for the survival of architects in the new emerging scheme (Jencks, 43). Regardless of the repercussions of a manifesto are, the architectural manifesto is considered to be a strategy that is viable. There has been a transformation, as argued by Walker et al. (75) within the genre of architectural manifesto which can be spelled as a way towards understanding the very change that has occurred in the modernity of architecture.



  1. Alloway, Lawrence. “Artists as Writers, Part Two: The Realm of Language,” Artforum, April 1974.
  2. Colomina, Beatriz. Manifesto Architecture: The Ghost of Mies. Berlin, Sternberg Press, 2014
  3. Didi-Huberman, Georges. “Argument” in Invention of Hysteria: Charcot and the photographic iconography of the Salpêtrière. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. 2003
  4. Donald, Alastair, Williams, J. Richard, Sharro, Karl, Alan, Farlie, Kuypers, Debby and Williams, Austin. Manifesto: Mantownhuman: Manifesto: Towards a New Humanism in Architecture. London, 2008.
  5. Jencks, Charles. The Volcano and the Tablet. Theories and Manifestoes of Contemporary Architecture. Academy Editions, 1997.
  6. Walker, Enrique, Felicity Scott and Anthony Vidler. Session I. What Happened to the Architectural Manifesto? Conference at Columbia University GSAPP. 2011

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