Publication

  • Kommunen in der Neuen Welt: 1740–1972
    Liselotte Ungers and O.M. Ungers
    Authors
    Winston Hampel and Jack Self
    Editors
    REAL press, 2020
  • GRANTEE
    REAL foundation
    GRANT YEAR
    2019

Cover of Liselotte and O.M. Unger's Kommunen in der Neueun Welt 1740–1972 (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1972). Copyright 2019 REAL / Ungers Archiv.

Not many Americans would describe their country as founded on socialist, communist, or utopian ideals. And yet, the history of the United States is a tale of radical models of communitarian life—from the first Puritans (such as the Shakers and Quakers), to the nineteenth century industrialists (including the Fourierists and Material Feminists). Equally, from twentieth century hippies (that built Biosphere 2, Arcosanti, and Ant Farm) to now the twenty first century spaces of the “sharing economy” (a sphere dominated by Silicon Valley's dystopian dreams). Liselotte and O.M. Ungers’ seminal book Kommunen in der Neuen Welt 1740–1972 (Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1972) studies 35 radically utopian communes of various sizes and from a variety of historical periods. The book remains a cult favorite, but without an English edition the Ungers’ great narrative of American socialist and architectural history has been all but forgotten. This first English translation revives, revises, and expands on their work.

Liselotte Ungers was a German sociologist and author. Although significantly involved in her husband’s work, she was overlooked both in her own time and by history. A 500-page biography of O.M. Ungers devoted just two paragraphs to someone Rem Koolhaas described as, “not unlike a German Denise Scott Brown.” Liselotte Ungers died in 2010.

Oswald Mathias (O.M.) Ungers was a German architect and architectural theorist, known for his rationalist designs and the use of cubic forms. Ungers’ Kommunen has been acknowledged as very influential by a number of his pupils, including Rem Koolhaas and Hans Kollhoff. O.M. Ungers died in 2007.

Jack Self is an architect and writer based in London. He is Director of the REAL foundation and editor-in-chief of the Real Review magazine. In 2016, Self curated the British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. He is a diploma unit master at the Architectural Association. His architectural design focuses on alternative models of ownership, contemporary forms of labor, and the formation of socioeconomic power relationships in space. Self’s first book, Real Estates: Life Without Debt, is now in its second printing. His other books include Home Economics (2016) and Mies in London (2018).

Winston Hampel is an architectural designer and writer based between London and Munich. He is a unit master at the Architectural Association and cofounder of the design practice CPWH. The interrelation between cultural artefacts and narratives, along with the process of translation—between languages, as well as from ideology and concept into physical form—are among his primary research interests.

REAL foundation is a cultural institute and architectural practice. It is dedicated to promoting inclusivity, democracy, and equalities of many kinds—including, but not limited to, race, gender, wealth, class, and space. REAL press is the publishing house of the REAL foundation. Established in 2016, it is dedicated to promoting architectural culture to a general audience. Its titles include Three Found Models by Hesselbrand (2016), Home Economics (2016), Symbolic Exchange (2017), and Mies in London (2018).