Simon Sadler

Simon Sadler is Associate Professor of Architectural and Urban History at the University of California, Davis.

  • Archigram

    Archigram

    Architecture without Architecture

    Simon Sadler

    The first book-length critical and historical account of an ultramodern architectural movement of the 1960s that advocated "living equipment" instead of buildings.

    In the 1960s, the architects of Britain's Archigram group and Archigram magazine turned away from conventional architecture to propose cities that move and houses worn like suits of clothes. In drawings inspired by pop art and psychedelia, architecture floated away, tethered by wires, gantries, tubes, and trucks. In Archigram: Architecture without Architecture, Simon Sadler argues that Archigram's sense of fun takes its place beside the other cultural agitants of the 1960s, originating attitudes and techniques that became standard for architects rethinking social space and building technology. The Archigram style was assembled from the Apollo missions, constructivism, biology, manufacturing, electronics, and popular culture, inspiring an architectural movement—High Tech—and influencing the postmodern and deconstructivist trends of the late twentieth century.

    Although most Archigram projects were at the limits of possibility and remained unbuilt, the six architects at the center of the movement, Warren Chalk, Peter Cook, Dennis Crompton, David Greene, Ron Herron, and Michael Webb, became a focal point for the architectural avant-garde, because they redefined the purpose of architecture. Countering the habitual building practice of setting walls and spaces in place, Archigram architects wanted to provide the equipment for amplified living, and they welcomed any cultural rearrangements that would ensue. Archigram: Architecture without Architecture—the first full-length critical and historical account of the Archigram phenomenon—traces Archigram from its rediscovery of early modernist verve through its courting of students, to its ascent to international notoriety for advocating the "disappearance of architecture."

    • Paperback $43.95 £34.00
  • The Situationist City

    The Situationist City

    Simon Sadler

    Simon Sadler searches for the Situationist City among the detritus of tracts, manifestos, and works of art that the Situationist International left behind.

    From 1957 to 1972 the artistic and political movement known as the Situationist International (SI) worked aggressively to subvert the conservative ideology of the Western world. The movement's broadside attack on "establishment" institutions and values left its mark upon the libertarian left, the counterculture, the revolutionary events of 1968, and more recent phenomena from punk to postmodernism. But over time it tended to obscure Situationism's own founding principles. In this book, Simon Sadler investigates the artistic, architectural, and cultural theories that were once the foundations of Situationist thought, particularly as they applied to the form of the modern city.

    According to the Situationists, the benign professionalism of architecture and design had led to a sterilization of the world that threatened to wipe out any sense of spontaneity or playfulness. The Situationists hankered after the "pioneer spirit" of the modernist period, when new ideas, such as those of Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche, still felt fresh and vital.

    By the late fifties, movements such as British and American Pop Art and French Nouveau Ralisme had become intensely interested in everyday life, space, and mass culture. The SI aimed to convert this interest into a revolution—at the level of the city itself. Their principle for the reorganization of cities was simple and seductive: let the citizens themselves decide what spaces and architecture they want to live in and how they wish to live in them. This would instantly undermine the powers of state, bureaucracy, capital, and imperialism, thereby revolutionizing people's everyday lives.

    Simon Sadler searches for the Situationist City among the detritus of tracts, manifestos, and works of art that the SI left behind. The book is divided into three parts. The first, "The Naked City," outlines the Situationist critique of the urban environment as it then existed. The second, "Formulary for a New Urbanism," examines Situationist principles for the city and for city living. The third, "A New Babylon," describes actual designs proposed for a Situationist City.

    • Hardcover $62.50 £43.95
    • Paperback $35.95 £28.00

Contributor

  • Laboratory Lifestyles

    Laboratory Lifestyles

    The Construction of Scientific Fictions

    Sandra Kaji-O'Grady, Chris L. Smith, and Russell Hughes

    A generously illustrated examination of the boom in luxurious, resort-style scientific laboratories and how this affects scientists' work.

    The past decade has seen an extraordinary laboratory-building boom. This new crop of laboratories features spectacular architecture and resort-like amenities. The buildings sprawl luxuriously on verdant campuses or sit sleekly in expensive urban neighborhoods. Designed to attract venture capital, generous philanthropy, and star scientists, these laboratories are meant to create the ideal conditions for scientific discovery. Yet there is little empirical evidence that shows if they do. Laboratory Lifestyles examines this new species of scientific laboratory from architectural, economic, social, and scientific perspectives. Generously illustrated with photographs of laboratories and scientists at work in them, the book investigates how “lifestyle science” affects actual science. Are scientists working when they stretch in a yoga class, play volleyball in the company tournament, chat in an on-site café, or show off their facilities to visiting pharmaceutical executives?

    The book describes, among other things, the role of beanbag chairs in the construction of science at Xerox PARC; the Southern California vibe of the RAND Corporation (Malibu), General Atomic (La Jolla), and Hughes Research Laboratories (Malibu); and Biosphere 2's “bionauts” as both scientists and scientific subjects; and interstellar laboratories. Laboratory Lifestyles (the title is an allusion to Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar's influential Laboratory Life) documents a shift in what constitutes scientific practice; these laboratories and their lifestyles are as experimental as the science they cultivate.

    Contributors Kathleen Brandt, Russell Hughes, Tim Ivison, Sandra Kaji-O'Grady, Stuart W. Leslie, Brian Lonsway, Sean O'Halloran, Simon Sadler, Chris L. Smith, Nicole Sully, Ksenia Tatarchenko, William Taylor, Julia Tcharfas, Albena Yaneva, Stelios Zavos

    • Hardcover $29.95 £24.00