• Design Radicals: Spaces of Bay Area Counterculture
    Greg Castillo and Lee Stickells
    University of Minnesota Press, 2024
    Greg Castillo & Lee Stickells

Student-built geostix dome with parachute cover, Odyssey school experiment, Castro Valley, California, 1970. Courtesy James Campe

During the 1960s, Northern California nurtured radical ideologies of everyday life, redefining the region as an incubator of countercultures. In claiming space for new identities, activist enclaves conveyed “a dimension of territory, of real physical space, to the consciousness of those within,” according to political activist Tom Hayden. This collection of essays examines the spatial imaginaries and place-defining practices deployed by Bay Area hippies, Aquarian feminists, Native Americans, avant-garde queers, Black Panthers, disability rights activists, Chicanos, ecofreaks, and cyberfreaks to advance overlapping cultural revolutions. Situating these interdependent enterprises within their geographic context, a multidisciplinary group of authors remaps the Bay Area as a site of plural countercultures whose design experiments in media and habitat heralded decisive shifts in postwar modernity. Design Radicals documents how, 50 years ago, the synergies of urban adjacency, outlaw style, and shared tactics of spatial occupation propelled multiple emancipatory movements toward their transformative goals.

Greg Castillo is a professor of architectural history in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. His research on model homes as geopolitical propaganda yielded the book Cold War on the Home Front: the Soft Power of Midcentury Design (University of Minnesota Press, 2010). Subsequent explorations of Northern California counterculture design were advanced by work on two exhibitions: Design Radicals: Creativity and Protest at Wurster Hall (2014), and the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive’s installation of Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia (2017), for which he was guest curator. Castillo has published essays on counterculture design in the exhibition catalogs for Hippie Modernism and Creativity on the Line, the online journal Places, as well as in other journals and edited collections.

Lee Stickells is associate professor in architecture at the University of Sydney. His research on international countercultural and ecological design experimentation has been published widely across scholarly, professional and popular media, including in Fabrications, Architectural Theory Review, Architecture Australia, The Conversation, and SL Magazine. His work on countercultural outlaw building has included research and cocuration for Not Quite Square: The Story of Northern Rivers Architecture (Lismore Regional Gallery/Tin Sheds Gallery, 2013). The current funded project Way Out Down Under, in collaboration with transmedia documentary practitioner Heather Faulkner, continues Stickell’s exploration of Australian countercultural design milieux. He is a member of the Architectural Theory Review editorial committee, Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) editorial board, and the International Advisory Board for Counterculture Studies. Most often, though, he can be found riding bikes.