Simon Sadler researches the history and theory of architecture and urbanism since World War II.


Archigram: Architecture without Architecture, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2005

“Simon Sadler’s book finally gives us a meticulous ideological history, long overdue, of the evolution of Archigram, one which will prove invaluable to all future accounts of British architectural culture during the 1960s.” Kenneth Frampton, Ware Professor of Architecture, Columbia University, New York

“Until recently, no one knew quite where to plug Archigram into the history of 20th-century architecture. Bursting with radical ideas and paper projects about architectural practice and its constructions, it was safely filed under ‘the swinging sixties.’ But a reevaluation has been under way over the last ten years, showing Archigram to be still influential (more than ever, actually) and still relevant to thinking about the built environment. … Archigram: Architecture without Architecture carefully tells the story of this informal grouping of idealistic young architects, and draws lessons for today. Welcome back to the plug-in city.” Sir Christopher Frayling, Rector, Royal College of Art, London

“Simon Sadler chronicles the encounter between fantastic technology and the built imagination orchestrated by Archigram during a unique decade. The rigorous historical knowledge offered by this book does nothing to lessen the excitement their designs still generate.” Jean-Louis Cohen, Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

“At last we have an objective, scholarly book about Archigram.” Colin Davies, The Architects’ Journal

“Simon Sadler’s Archigram: Architecture without Architecture delivers a long overdue chronicle of the rise, heyday, and demise of the British avant-garde architectural design group, Archigram. … The book is a valuable contribution to the scholarship on Archigram.” Deborah Asher Barnstone, The Art Book

“In a comprehensive study, Sadler enriches our understanding of the work and ideas behind, and which constituted Archigram, by providing an overview of the group’s history from its formation and early years, through to the teaching exploits of the group and a reflection on their eventual reception on the architectural scene of ideas. … Above all else, it is the ability and promise to imagine alternatives, and then to act on that imagination in a critical and sustained manner that Sadler’s monograph of Archigram delivers.” Natalie Basingthwaite, www.haecceityinc.com

“[Sadler] … writes beautifully and persuasively … The book is carefully researched and properly documented but never weighed down by extraneous commentary. It is a real aid to understanding, especially useful for students who know about the 1960s only as a remote historical era, but fascinating for those who already know about the ideas because there is also material about the connections between people and other projects that were realized, such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris.” Andrew Ballantyne, Journal of Architectural Education

Non-Plan ­ (edited with Jonathan Hughes), Non-Plan: Essays on Freedom, Participation and Change in Modern Architecture and Urbanism, Oxford: The Architectural Press (Butterworth-Heinemann), 2000, ISBN 0 7506 4083 9

Non-Plan traces an unwritten history of modern architecture. From free-market enterprise zones to self-build housing, from squatting and riot to sophisticated technologies of prefabrication, non-plan strategies have targeted architectural inertia on many fronts. Non-Plan explores the ways in which people have sought to regain control over the built environment.

“Non-Plan is not just a valuable contribution to our understanding of the history of post-war planning; the way that it places architectural and planning ideas within a wider political discourse makes it a persuasive model for writing the architectural history of the late twentieth century.” Joe Kerr, The Architects’ Journal

“telling you everything you want to know about Non-Plan, and then some” Peter Hall, The Architectural Review

The Situationist City, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1998, ISBN 0 262 19392 2

From 1957 to 1972, the artistic and political movement known as the Situationist International (SI) worked aggressively to subvert the conservative ideology of the Western world. The movement’s broadside attack on ‘establishment’ institutions and values left its mark upon the libertarian left, the counterculture, the revolutionary events of 1968, and more recent phenomena from punk to postmodernism. In this book Sadler investigates the artistic, architectural, and cultural theories that were once the foundations of Situationist thought, particularly as they applied to the form of the modern city.

“Sadler’s book opens up a space for a reconsideration of the SI’s project of urban transformation” Lucy Forsyth, Art Monthly

“Halfway through you start making favourable comparisons with Reyner Banham’s writing in Theory and Design ­ difficult subject, some of the protagonists still alive and baleful, painstaking research, dense but lucid writing, scholarship and excitement. It is very good: we seem to have a new star here.” Sutherland Lyall, Architectural Review

“Sadler has performed a necessary and welcome corrective to our understanding of this strange but endearing crew.” Adam Sweeting, American Book Review

“This book sharpens one’s perceptions of a city, and repoliticises it in very peculiar ways” Mic Moroney, The Irish Times

Shorter Publication

Drop City Revisited, Journal of Architectural Education, vol. 58, no. 1, 2006

Guerilla Architecture, in Francesca Ferguson & Urban Drift, eds., Talking Cities: The Micropolitics of Urban Space, Basel: Birkhäuser, 2006

Ross Birrell in conversation with Simon Sadler, in Rhona Warwick, ed., Arcade: Artists and Place-making, London: Black Dog Publishing in association with The Artworks Program, Gorbals, 2006

Foreword to Adam Sharr, Heidegger’s Hut, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2006

New Babylon versus Plug-in City, in Martin van Schaik and Otakar Máèel, eds., Exit Utopia—Architectural Provocations 1956-76, Munich: Prestel, 2005

British Architecture in the Sixties, in Chris Stephens and Katharine Stout, eds., Art & the 60s: This Was Tomorrow, London: Tate Britain Gallery, 2004

The Boundaries of the Avant-Garde, in Rosemary Wakeman, ed., Themes in Modern European History, vol. 4, 1945-Present, New York: Routledge 2003

An Avant-Garde Academy: the teaching of radicalism in European and North American architecture, in Andrew Ballantyne, ed., Architectures from Modern to Post-Modern, Oxford: Blackwell / Association of Art Historians, 2003

Recent Talk

Mapping the City: Artists Engage with the Urban Environment, De Young Museum, San Francisco, June 2007

At Home with Robert Arneson, California State University Sacramento, February 2007

1968: Whole Earth Catalog, WNRI Public Radio, Providence, October 2006

Archigram, Independent School of Art Dinner Lecture, San Francisco, July 2006

West of Eden: Communes and Utopia in Northern California, University of California, Berkeley, March 2006

Archigram, Spaces and Flows, Otis College of Art, Los Angeles, September 2005

Archigram, Spaces and Flows, Princeton University, May 2005

The 1970s: Designing Futures, University of Melbourne, September 2004


Simon Sadler is Professor of Architectural and Urban History, and Chancellor’s Fellow, at the University of California, Davis.

Art History Program
Art Building
University of California
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616


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Simon Sadler

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