Architectural writings of Jean Baudrillard

Principal Investigator(s): Dr Francesco Proto


About us

This research spanning over two decades focuses on the works of French philosopher Jean Baudrillard and consists of numerous publications and outputs on Baudrillard’s work, including the edited publication, at the request of the author, of his unpublished work on urbanism and the Parc de la Villette in Paris (Mass Identity Architecture, Wily Classics, 2003 and 2006) and discussions on the Centre Pompidou as the outcome of the student revolution of 1968 in Paris, an event Baudrillard was involved in and very much supported (Mass Identity Architecture; Baudrillard for Architects). 

“Erasures: Unpublished Manuscripts in the Jean Baudrillard Archive”

Ongoing research extends this work with the aim of discovering unpublished manuscripts, specifically on architecture, in the Institut Mémoires de l'édition contemporaine (IMEC) in Abbaye d’Ardenne, Saint-Germain-la-Blanche-Herbe, France, and analyse them to investigate Baudrillard’s philosophical writing strategy 

Urban Whitewash:

In the 1980s, Jean Baudrillard became an internationally acclaimed academic superstar due to the publication of Simulacra and Simulation in the United States. America and the four-book series Cool Memories followed. Both report first and second hand impressions about what he identified at the time as the ‘matrix of globalization’. Nearly thirty years later, a forthcoming monograph, Urban Whitewash (Routledge), resumes Baudrillard’s enterprise by addressing the consequences of American lifestyle on Europe. In the wake of Baudrillard’s writings, the literary and narrative dimension of this book, which proceeds through puns, flashes and vivid descriptions of famous European locations, stretches even further the Postmodern intermingling between architectural theory and literary approaches, thus producing a genre at the cutting-edge of contemporary research practices and narratives.

Research impact

The importance of the research rests with its underlying assumption which is that such a literary strategy represents parts of Baudrillard’s most innovative contribution to contemporary philosophy and theory, the philosophy and theory of architecture included.

While Urban Whitewash brings architectural education back to that lost interdisciplinary equilibrium that architecture once enjoyed - thus contributing to the correct training in theoretical enquiry that most architectural education lacks, “Erasures” opens up new avenues for architectural theory and theoretical methodologies.  

  • Proto, F. Baudrillard for Architects (Routledge 2020)
  • Proto, F, “Doubling Baudrillard: An Appreciation of Gerry Coulter’s Writings on Architecture” International Journal of Baudrillard Studies 15 (1) (2019).
  • Proto, F. “Architecture”, in The Baudrillard Dictionary, edited by Richard G. Smith. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press (2010): 7-20.