Non-Design: Architecture, Liberalism, and the Market (Hardcover)

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Anthony Fontenot’s staggeringly ambitious book uncovers the surprisingly libertarian heart  of the most influential British and American architectural and urbanist discourses of the postwar period, expressed as a critique of central design and a support of spontaneous order. Non-Design illuminates the unexpected philosophical common ground between enemies of state support, most prominently the economist Friedrich Hayek, and numerous notable postwar architects and urbanists like Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, Reyner Banham, and Jane Jacobs. These thinkers espoused a distinctive concept of "non-design,"characterized by a rejection of conscious design and an embrace of various phenomenon that emerge without intention or deliberate human guidance. This diffuse and complex body of theories discarded many of the cultural presuppositions of the time, shunning the traditions of modern design in favor of the wisdom, freedom, and self-organizing capacity of the market. Fontenot reveals the little-known commonalities between the aesthetic deregulation sought by ostensibly liberal thinkers and Hayek’s more controversial conception of state power, detailing what this unexplored affinity means for our conceptions of political liberalism. Non-Design thoroughly recasts conventional views of postwar architecture and urbanism, as well as liberal and libertarian philosophies.

About the Author

Anthony Fontenot is professor of architecture at Woodbury University

Praise For…

“Fontenot’s stunningly erudite and deeply researched book is a landmark contribution to the study of the built environment and establishes him as one of the field's most perspicacious intellectual historians. Its explication of myriad connections among economic thinkers and the disciplines of architecture and urbanism transforms previous understandings and will doubtless foster renewed and refined discussions of monopolies in the twenty-first century. Non-Design is an uncommonly bracing, audacious, and provocative work of historical scholarship.”
— Edward Dimendberg, University of California, Irvine

“In his thoroughly researched tome, Fontenot shapes an innovative vision of postwar architecture. Considering the critical discourse and the practical responses that have challenged the dominion of central planning and functional design, he weaves together well-chosen British and North American episodes marking the emergence of a deliberate denigration of modern design.”
— Jean-Louis Cohen, New York University Institute of Fine Arts

“Rich in ideas, edifying in its connecting lines, Fontenot’s survey of mid-twentieth-century (non)planning theory is a masterful compendium of urban discussions holding significant relevance today.”
— Harry Francis Mallgrave, Illinois Institute of Technology

Product Details
ISBN: 9780226686066
ISBN-10: 022668606X
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: July 9th, 2021
Pages: 376