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Lefebvre for Architects
Meanwhile, Henri Lefebvre's conception of 'space' as the fundamental category of politics and of the dialectic itself-the one great prophetic vision of these last years of discouragement and renunciation-has yet to be grasped in all its path-breaking implications, let alone to be explored and implemented; while Lefebvre's influential role as an ideologist and critic of French architecture today must be noted and meditated upon. With this, Fredric Jameson, like some trans-Atlantic schooner bisecting Western Marxist critique in 'late capitalism', announced thirty years ago that a new route for architecture was open: from Manfredo Tafuri ('negative') to Henri Lefebvre ('positive'). If Tafuri could, in Jameson's wake, offer a therapeutic corrective to architecture's tendencies toward 'utopian' (read 'false-consciousness') ideology, that would be all: although one can never quite tell whether it is not, for Jameson, quite enough. Lefebvre, on the other hand, offered a veritable Gramscian operation-a counter-hegemonic practice of Utopian (read 'projection into an alternative future') architectural imagination. To traverse this passage, then, was to pass from the absolute negation of 'Tafuri' to the hope of lefebvre'. But what had Lefebvre done to suggest this to Jameson? And what would these Utopias look like?