The Architecture of Failure

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By means of an original reading of the earliest origins of modernism, The Architecture of Failure exposes the ways in which failure has been suppressed, ignored and denied in the way we design our cities. It examines the 19th century fantasy architecture of the iron and glass exhibition palaces, strange, unprecedented, dream-like structures, almost all now lost, existing only as melancholy archive fragments; it traces the cultural legacy of these buildings through the heroics of the early 20th century, post-war radicals and recent developments, discussing related themes in art, literature, politics and philosophy.

“The Architecture of Failure skillfully maneuvers over diverse historical terrain without ever losing sight of [its] central thematic, using architecture as a lens through which the political regression of recent times may be viewed with melancholic lucidity.” – Ross Wolfe, Radical Philosophy

“The subject is so complicated, so emotional, so ironic and so melancholic altogether that it really does take a writer of some skill to explain. And it gets it with this book.” – Paul Shepheard, Building Design

“Murphy’s polemic is both informed and persuasive” – Architecture Today

“The Architecture of Failure can be recommended as a lively piece of critical history and a stimulus to constructing something more durable from the ruins of the present.” – Richard Weston, Architect’s Journal

“… one hopes that it is a but a taster for a much larger work to come.” – Rosa Ainley, Review 31