Henri Lefebvre: Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment

Henri Lefebvre, Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment . Edited and with an introduction by Łukasz Stanek. Translated by Robert Bononno. University of Minnesota Press (2014)

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.

Łukasz 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

Interview with Mario Gaviria, the commissioner of the manuscript, about his research, his friendship with Henri Lefebvre, and the origins of the manuscript (by Łukasz Stanek, February 2, 2013).

Read the presentation of the book by the University of Minnesota Press

Read the interview with Łukasz Stanek by Stuart Elden, on Society and Space

Reviews in English:

Gastón Gordillo, Society and Space Open Site, September 19, 2014

Japhy Wilson, Antipode, October 2014

Daisy Froud, Icon, November 2014

Jan Baetens, Leonardo Reviews, December 2014

Owen Hatherley, The Architectural Review, March 2015

Patrick Gamsby, Canadian Journal of Sociology, March 2015

Camillo Boano, The Journal of Architecture, May 2015

Elisa T. Bertuzzo, disP - The Planning Review, April 2016

Olga Touloumi, Buildings & Landscapes, Spring 2016

Reviews in German:

Manfred Russo, Dérive 58, January 2014

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