21. November 2012 / Peter Zöch

Now in English: the texts of Lucius Burckhardt

The Swiss political economist, sociologist, art historian and planning theorist Lucius Burckhardt (1925-2003) is well known as founding father of „strollology“ (featured in Topos 56). The professor at the University of Kassel was a pioneer of an interdisciplinary analysis of man-made environments. He discussed both the visible and invisible aspects of our cities, landscapes, political processes and social relations as well as the long-term effects of design and planning decisions. Lucius Burckhardt Writings. Rethinking Man-made Environments, the first English compilation of his texts, provides an introduction to his timeless topical thinking.

Jesko Fezer and Marin Schmitz give a foretaste in their preface: “Lucius Burckhardt was bold for he claimed that design is invisible. He was exasperating for he asked why landscape is beautiful. He was persistent for he doggedly asked who actually plans the planning. He was egalitarian for he addressed issues such as ‘livability’ and everyday life. He was provocative. He declared the night and dirt to be a focus of his research. He was realistic insofar as he established that to build or to design is a process. He was rebellious for he made a science out of taking a stroll. He was far-sighted for he claimed that care and maintenance are destructive.”



“The Trip to Tahiti” in 1987 led to an abandoned military training area near Kassel. An actor read from writings by George Forster, who was in Tahiti with Captain Cook in 1772. The descriptions of the island also applied to this site.
Image: Lucius Burckhardt Archiv

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