Ludwig Hilberseimer’s Metropolisarchitecture is a remarkable book. Troubling in some respects, utterly compelling in others, it occupied a particular space in Weimar architecture culture, as a theoretical excursus in which architecture and urban design are given the charge of altering social organization. The book resonates very differently today, and to review a book first published in 1927 is also to consider its appearance in 2012, when the very question of architecture’s agency has resurfaced with some urgency.2Metropolisarchitecture redefined architecture in its day, subdividing it, targeting one particular subset for research (metropolitan architecture), and demonstrating the possible ramifications of such research on mass transit, worker relations, and market speculation. In addition to anticipating contemporary debates on activism through architecture, Metropolisarchitecture encourages reflection on the constitution of the profession today, when architects define themselves as experts in material systems, in digital fabrication, in health care architecture, or in curtain...

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