Utopia as Critical Method: A Comparative Analysis of Six Architectural and Literary Utopias

J. Čulek

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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Utopia as a Critical Method is a comparative analysis performed through drawing and text, in which six architectural and literary utopias were examined together with the three historical contexts in which they were created. Looking at utopian works created roughly within the last century, the research examined the different worlds which the utopian authors imagined as a critical response to the issues and topics arising within their own historical contexts. The study addressed not only on the works as a whole, but also focused on their parts – namely the numerous social and spatial forms the authors have imagined and depicted. In this way, the dissertation was able to identify both the common and the discipline-specific forms which the utopian authors used, the various tools and techniques through which the critical aspect of their utopian works was developed (use of dichotomous relationships, mereological approaches, world reduction, and contextual verticals), as well as some of the most common topics which the utopian works addressed or revolved around (such as those of housing, work and production, technology, and governance). By distributing the social and spatial forms identified both within the utopian works as well as their respective contexts into three predominant scales – the small, medium and large – the research was also able to address and identify (in)commensurabilities between the different foci of utopian works across the fields of architecture and literature, as well as in relation to their three different historical periods. And while the use of utopia as a critical method through which we can simultaneously reflect on our own present, while speculating on potential futures has significantly declined (if not disappeared) in the architectural field, one of the goals of this research was to reignite the creative architectural interest in producing these imaginative and critical projects as a response to the numerous and multifaceted crises of our time.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Kaan, C.H.C.F., Supervisor
  • Havik, K.M., Supervisor
  • Sioli, A., Advisor
Award date14 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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