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Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment

2014
Author:

Henri Lefebvre
Edited by Łukasz Stanek

Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment

The relationship between bodily pleasure, space, and architecture—from one of the twentieth century’s most important urban theorists

Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, the first publication of Henri Lefebvre’s only book devoted to architecture, redefines architecture as a mode of imagination rather than a specialized process or a collection of monuments. Lefebvre calls for an architecture of jouissance—of pleasure or enjoyment—centered on the body and its rhythms and based on the possibilities of the senses.

Lukasz Stanek’s work has already taken scholarship on Henri Lefebvre’s concept of space to an unprecedented level of philosophical sophistication. With the discovery of the new text, Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, Stanek escorts Lefebvre to the center of architecture theory since 1968. Lefebvre’s conceptual text and Stanek’s exquisite introduction together enable the possibility of thinking not about architecture, but thinking architecturally about how we inhabit our world. Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment takes us toward a concept of the architectural imagination that is a powerful mediator between thought and action.

K. Michael Hays, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment is the first publication in any language of the only book devoted to architecture by Henri Lefebvre. Written in 1973 but only recently discovered in a private archive, this work extends Lefebvre’s influential theory of urban space to the question of architecture. Taking the practices and perspective of habitation as his starting place, Lefebvre redefines architecture as a mode of imagination rather than a specialized process or a collection of monuments. He calls for an architecture of jouissance—of pleasure or enjoyment—centered on the body and its rhythms and based on the possibilities of the senses.

Examining architectural examples from the Renaissance to the postwar period, Lefebvre investigates the bodily pleasures of moving in and around buildings and monuments, urban spaces, and gardens and landscapes. He argues that areas dedicated to enjoyment, sensuality, and desire are important sites for a society passing beyond industrial modernization.

Lefebvre’s theories on space and urbanization fundamentally reshaped the way we understand cities. Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment promises a similar impact on how we think about, and live within, architecture.

Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment

Henri Lefebvre (1901–1991) was a Marxist philosopher and sociologist. His many books include The Right to the City, The Production of Space, Everyday Life in the Modern World, and The Urban Revolution (Minnesota, 2003).

Łukasz Stanek is lecturer at the Manchester Architecture Centre, University of Manchester, and the author of Henri Lefebvre on Space: Architecture, Urban Research, and the Production of Theory (Minnesota, 2011).

Robert Bononno, a teacher and translator, lives in New York City. His recent translations include Speech Begins after Death by Michel Foucault (Minnesota, 2013) and Cosmopolitics I and II by Isabelle Stengers (Minnesota, 2010-11).

Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment

Lukasz Stanek’s work has already taken scholarship on Henri Lefebvre’s concept of space to an unprecedented level of philosophical sophistication. With the discovery of the new text, Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, Stanek escorts Lefebvre to the center of architecture theory since 1968. Lefebvre’s conceptual text and Stanek’s exquisite introduction together enable the possibility of thinking not about architecture, but thinking architecturally about how we inhabit our world. Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment takes us toward a concept of the architectural imagination that is a powerful mediator between thought and action.

K. Michael Hays, Harvard Graduate School of Design

We finally have access to [Henri Lefebvre’s] most forceful meditation on the spatial utopia he aspired to. We owe the rescue and publication of this notable book to the perseverance and talent of Łukasz Stanek, who wrote the volume’s excellent and comprehensive introduction.

Environment & Planning D: Society and Space

A work that is profound, relevant, and important.

Canadian Journal of Sociology

This book, which focuses on architecture and redefines it. . . according to Lefebvre, architecture should work towards enjoyment and against aestheticism.

Finnish Architectural Review

Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment

Contents

Translator’s Note
Introduction: A Manuscript Found in Saragossa

Łukasz Stanek
Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment

1. The Question
2. The Scope of the Inquiry
3. The Quest
4. Objections
5. Philosophy
6. Anthropology
7. History
8. Psychology and Psychoanalysis
9. Semantics and Semiology
10. Economics
11. Architecture
12. Conclusion (Injunctions)

Notes
Index