Łukasz Stanek

  • Speculative proposal for renovation of housing block in Paris. From Actuel 12 (September 1971).


    HENRI LEFEBVRE’S THEORIES—of the everyday, of the city, of space—are integral to our understanding of contemporary life and urban experience. Yet, remarkably, the full breadth of the late French philosopher’s thinking on the built environment was unknown until 2008, when scholar Łukasz Stanek rediscovered a forgotten manuscript penned by Lefebvre some forty years ago. A rethinking of the spaces and politics of leisure as much as a consideration of enchanting structures ranging from Roman baths to the Alhambra, that book-length study, Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, will be published for the first time in May by the University of Minnesota Press. Here, Stanek introduces a sneak preview for Artforum, situating the “architecture of enjoyment” within the arc of Lefebvre’s groundbreaking oeuvre.

    “ARCHITECTURE OR REVOLUTION,” warned Le Corbusier in 1923. Some fifty years later, critics including Manfredo Tafuri and Bernard Huet returned to this dichotomy—only to read it militantly against the grain. For these thinkers, writing in Italy and France around 1968, architecture was not an instrument of progress but a means by which to perpetuate capitalism’s depredations: Far from making revolution unnecessary, the discipline actively blocked radical change. This critique produced such influential works as Tafuri’s 1973 Architecture and Utopia, which proposed that contemporary architecture,