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When questioning theusefulness of manifestos as a tool for architects, we must first define one.

A manifestocan be defined as a written statement of the beliefs, aims, and policies of anorganization, especially a political party[1].An architectural manifesto, on the other hand, can be much harder to categoriseand place. As Charles Jencks argues in the introduction to his ‘Theories andManifestos of Contemporary Architecture’, the Ten Commandments were the originalarchitectural manifesto, or at the least they set an outline based on their toneand form. Taking the teleological argument, God is the architect of each and everything, with architects playing God when making both subjective decisions, and whenadopting one theory over another. More recent manifestos of the20th century have ranged heavily on both form and tone.

‘Complexityand Contradiction in Architecture’ by Robert Venturi works as a form of anti-manifestomanifesto and even subtitles itself as ‘A Gentle Manifesto[2]’.It can be placed against Antonio Sant’Elia’s ‘Manifesto of FuturistArchitecture’ that is far more forceful in its views and tries to be far morepersuasive, using much wilder rhetoric. These vary in tone whilst both varyheavily in form to Bernard Tschumi’s ‘Advertisements for Architecture[i]’ -often not accepted as a manifesto – that take the form of graphic postersshowing quotes and famous buildings.

[1] Cambridge English Dictionary[2] Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction inArchictecture, Pg 40.i. Tschumi’s ‘Advertisements for Architecture’     

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