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Leviathan, or Neoliberalism, Architecture and the Surrender of Radical Theory

Part 1 Dissertation 2020
John McIlroy
University of Central Lancashire | UK
This essay considers the ways in which architectural theory, neoliberal ideology, and the city interact with and shape each other. It asks: to what extent has architectural theory been subsumed into the neoliberal hegemony and what alternative critical strategies are open to architectural theory today? The essay argues that the city of Hong Kong is the apotheosis of what Rem Koolhaas theorised as ‘Bigness’ and an exemplar of global, politico-economic orthodoxies. A politico-historical contextualisation of Koolhaas’ theory of Bigness situates the argument. A typology of neoliberal spaces of Hong Kong assesses the impact that the climate of recent critique has had upon the built environment of the city. The essay concludes by proposing what the author calls a propositional critique that is neither celebratory and affirmative nor negative and cynical, but is instead propositional and emancipatory.

John McIlroy

Cameron McEwan
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