Owen Hatherley

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Owen Hatherley
Owen Hatherley.jpg
Owen Hatherley in 2009
Owen Hatherley

(1981-07-24) 24 July 1981 (age 39)
Alma materGoldsmiths, University of London, Birkbeck, University of London
  • writer
  • author
Writing career
Notable worksA Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain
The Ministry of Nostalgia

Owen Hatherley (born 24 July 1981 in Southampton, UK) is a British writer and journalist based in London who writes primarily on architecture, politics and culture.

Early life[edit]

Hatherley was born in Southampton in 1981, growing up in a 1930s suburban estate. He describes his parents as "trots" who were members of Militant.[2] [3] At the age of 12, he moved to the Flowers Estate in Bassett Green, which he disliked, later saying: "I couldn't wait to get out of the sodding place, and the pitched roofs and front gardens didn’t exactly relieve the unpleasantness."[4] When he was 16, he read England’s Dreaming by Jon Savage, which inspired him to move to London to study.[5] He studied at Goldsmiths, University of London, graduating in 2001.[6] He then received a PhD from Birkbeck, University of London in 2011.[7]


Hatherley's first book, Militant Modernism, was published by Zero Books in 2009. The Guardian described the book as an "intelligent and passionately argued attempt to 'excavate utopia' from the ruins of modernism" and an "exhilarating manifesto for a reborn socialist modernism".[8] Icon described the book as "sparky, polemical and ferociously learned" although it "falters a little towards the end";[9] while Jonathan Meades in the New Statesman described the book as a "deflected Bildungsroman of a very clever, velvet-gloved provocateur nostalgic for yesterday's tomorrow, for a world made before he was born, a distant, preposterously optimistic world which, even though it still exists in scattered fragments, has had its meaning erased, its possibilities defiled" and Hatherley "as a commentator on architecture...in a school of one".[10] The journal Planning Perspectives suggested that the book "nicely explores the irony of the potential status of the remains of future-oriented architecture and urban design as ‘modern heritage'".[11]

His book A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain was published by Verso in 2010.[12] Landscapes of Communism: A History Through Buildings, a history of communism in Europe told through the built environments of former socialist states, was published by Allen Lane in June 2015.[13] In 2018, he released two books, Trans-Europe Express with Allen Lane, and The Adventures of Owen Hatherley in the Post-Soviet Space with Repeater Books.[14]

Hatherley has written for Dezeen, Building Design, The Guardian, Icon, the London Review of Books, New Humanist, the New Statesman, Socialist Review, Socialist Worker and Jacobin Magazine. He has maintained three blogs, Sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy, The Measures Taken and Kino Fist.


Hatherley has described himself as a communist "at least in the sense in which the word was used in The Communist Manifesto". He wrote that "revolution might be a rather exciting thing, one that would transform the world, and transform space, for the better. Worth doing. Why not try it."[15]



  1. ^ "Owen Hatherley". Four Thought. 17 November 2011. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Socialism Today – Building bloc". socialismtoday.org.
  3. ^ https://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/militant-modernist-owen-hatherley/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ https://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/militant-modernist-owen-hatherley/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Hatherley, Owen (5 August 2014). "England's Dreaming introduced me to power, urbanism and London | Owen Hatherley". The Guardian.
  6. ^ ""Goldsmiths CCA is a high-end art gallery not a squat, and it is unseemly for it to pretend to be one"". Dezeen. 26 September 2018.
  7. ^ https://incertainplaces.org/project/revisiting-utopia-symposium/owen-hatherley-revisiting-utopia/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ PD Smith, Militant Modernism, The Guardian, 9 May 2009
  9. ^ William Wiles, Review: Militant Modernism, Icon
  10. ^ Jonathan Meades, 'Yesterday's tomorrows', New Statesman, 30 April 2009
  11. ^ Dan Hicks, Militant Modernism, Planning Perspectives, 25(2) (April 2010)
  12. ^ Wright, Patrick (24 October 2010). "A Guide to the New Ruins of Great Britain: Owen Hatherley". Architecture Today. Architecture Today. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  13. ^ Fitzpatrick, Sheila (30 July 2015). "Almost Lovable". London Review of Books. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  14. ^ "The Adventures of Owen Hatherley in the Post-Soviet Space | Repeater Books | Repeater Books". Repeater Books. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  15. ^ Hatherley, Owen (2015). Landscapes of Communism. Allen Lane.

External links[edit]