The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal City

Master of Architecture
Semester 2, 2018

Studio leader(s)

  • Leandro Cappetto

“The metropolis strives to reach a mythical point where the world is completely fabricated by man, so that it absolutely coincides with his desires. The Mettropolis is an addictive machine, from which there is no escape, unless it offers that, too...” – Delirious New York, Rem Koolhaas, 1978.

“Architecture has always been subservient to the ruling authorities, (...) to the power system in force. Architects whose principles oppose these priorities can only postulate, by means of projects, conjec- tures anticipating an alternative regime. Often they are the harbingers of the future.” – Brussels -a Manifesto-, Pier Vittorio Aureli, 2007

Intervening the Melbourne CBD, the Studio will develop a critical and questioning agency against the neoliberal consensus that regulates our city. The historic agreement between architecture, capitalism and the city will be hardly attacked.

The ultimate goal of this Studio is to produce a project, in the form of an architecture manifesto, within and against the contemporary neoliberal city.

An architecture project is a theory. Is a theory about the society in which we live, its history and its future. As a new theory, it challenges existent theories, to propose a new way to understand the present, and visualize a future. A manifesto is a provocation. It has no intention of becoming real, but of proposing a new problem to be discussed. An architecture-manifesto is a provocation in a disciplinary language.

The architecture that a manifesto presents usually is monumental, theatrical, and utopian, but at the same time ridiculous, impossible and incorrect.

The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal City will study the Melbourne CBD as the territorial manifestation of the neoliberal model. As manifestation, the city, and its architecure, registers and transmits the political, economical and social forces that relate within it; and makes them strong and durable.

But, what is the neoliberal city? To describe it, we need to critically understand the relations of power of the neoliberal condition under which we live. The studio will carefully look at several readings linking the city and neoliberalism, to produce a precise architectural description of the neoliberal city, and critically act within it.

The Studio will explore several prjetc-manifestos, looking for a critical language within the discipline that can question both architecture and the neoliberal city.

Students will explore a critical project within and against the neoliberal city, under the idea of A CITY WITHIN THE CITY.

Friday 10 am to 5 pm
Paired Studies Unit: Contemporary Political Architecture Productions