Imaginary Cities of the 16th and 17th Century: An Exploration on the Utopian Cities of Albrecht Dürer, Johann Valentin Andreae, and Tommaso Campanella

By Tessa Morrison.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: August 6, 2014 $US5.00

In 1527, Albrecht Dürer published "Etliche Unterricht, zur Befestigung der Städte, Schlösser und Flecken." In this book he outlines a plan for a fortified city in detail. His plan was functional, economical, pragmatic, and socially responsible, with the central square being reserved for a palace. Each building is shown, the market, the town hall, the blacksmith’s workshop, and even the taverns, all carefully aligned with the rectilinear geometry of the plan, but everything is subordinate to the central citadel – the palace of the king. Likewise, Johann Valentin Andreae’s "Christianopolis" (1619) and Tommaso Campanella’s "Civitas Solis" (City of the Sun) placed the authority of the church in the centre with spectacular temples. In these three utopian cities, the authority of the king or the church is clearly delineated by the architecture and the building’s dominant central position within the city. These cities were heavily fortified and the cities were isolated from the ‘outside world’. This paper examines the architecture of Dürer’s fortified city, Christianopolis, and City of the Sun. After examining the plan and architecture of the three cities, this paper will consider whether the utopian ideals are reflected in the architecture.

Keywords: Utopian Architecture, Utopia Literature, Albrecht Dürer, Johann Valentin Andreae, Tommaso Campanella

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 12, Issue 2, August 2014, pp.1-19. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: August 6, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.481MB)).

Dr. Tessa Morrison

Research Fellow in Architectural History, The School of Architecture and Built Environment, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia