Lumen Books, 1987 "...says more about some central esthetic and philosophical issues confronting contemporary architecture than many celebrated pundits manage to squeeze into a shelf-full of books.” – Roger KimballArchitectural Record

Lumen Books, 1991 "(Of) remarkable clarity and directness, Deconstructing the Kimbell is a terrific piece...a pleasure to read, very perceptive, lucid, and well argued" -- Kenneth Frampton. "A fine appraisal of a great work of art. The advice here is to skip Derrida and get right to Benedikt"– Richard Twombly, American Book Review. "(A) very lovely book, Deconstructing the Kimbell teaches me a lot and sets me thinking. In addition, it is not only very generous with respect to my modest work (modest, especially, inside the space, if one may say that, of architecture), which it discusses, but it also discusses the discussions with exemplary rigor. For me it is something very gratifying, of course, but I am sure it will also be of great benefit for those (and they will be numerous I hope) who, reading the book, will become interested in the questions it raises." –Jacques Derrida{more}

MIT Press, 1992 "Essays…on one of the most exciting, exotic, and least understood frontiers of computing"–Peter Lewis, The New York Times. "…a must for anyone exploring or developing online virtual worlds." Dr. Steve Gynup. An MIT Press best-seller for several years, this book was translated into Japanese, Italian, and Korean.

Center for American Architecture and Design, 1997

Center for American Architecture and Design, 1999

University of Michigan Taubman College, 2001

Bottino Books, 2007

Center for American Architecture and Design, 2008

Center for American Architecture and Design, 2010

B O O K S - I N - M A N U S C R I P T


Part One: Locating the Sacred

Part Two: The Fabric of Glances

Part Three: Relational Architecture

Readers interested in reading parts of this book-in-progress (2014 – ) should contact the author at mbenedikt(at)utexas.edu


Flush with the success of Cyberspace: First Steps (I waslecturing everywhere and beginning to tire of the hype), I thought I should turn to the question of value in economic and psychological terms.This had long been an interest of mine. In the early nineties, the internet was growing rapidly and the dot.com boom was well underway. "Everything solid" was indeed "melting into air," and one had to wonder: what had real value? Online or realworld, was moneyvalue's most honest measure? And over the long term, what would become of the physical environment, of the face-to-face world? Would it suffer further neglect, or was it due forcelebration, revival?

Formal research for A General Theory of Value began in 1992. Writing began around 1994 with a contract from The University of Chicago Press. By 1999 the manuscript had reached eleven chapters and a thousand pages. In 2000, after a single reader's critical report, Chicago walked away. 'The world' was not ready for a treatise on value quite this ambitious, much less one from 'an architect.'

I pushed on with a re-write, which is what you see below. I did not again pursue publishing AGTV however, agreeing, I suppose, that the patience for long treatises on the topic of value from writers outside of the canonwas gone (if it had ever existed).

Happily, many parts of AGTV appeared in articles and as lectures, all of which were well received. In addition,CENTER10 and 11 (Value, and Value 2) published essays from renowned economists and philosophers—people I had gathered for two symposia in Austin called "The Question of Economic Value"—and two of the essays in them were by yours truly."Towards a General Theory of Value"was an interview I gave in 2003, still confident about AGTV's imminent appearance as a book.

I should like to thank the Rockefeller Foundation and its Bellagio Center for supporting the writing around that time. I would also like to thank reader-editor-extaordinaire Burt Webb for years of feedback from Seattle, Timothy Parker for his critical editing just down the hall, colleague Michael Oden, economist and planner, for his years of insights and encouragements over coffee across the "drag," and my wife Amelie Benedikt, who, among many things, is a patient listener, ruthless editor, and reliable philosophical guide.

The links below will take you to pdfs of the chapters of A General Theory of Value as I left them in 2002 and 2003.

SYNOPSIS (34 pages)

Chapter One: Information, Complexity, Life (48 pages) (Figures)

Chapter Two: Value in the Largest View: More Life(48 pages) (Figures)

Chapter Three: Some Evidence for Omega (44 pages) (Figures)

Chapter Four: The Economy of Tokens (104 pages)

Chapter Five: Signs, Self, and Force (29 pages)

Chapter Six: Needs, Value, and Time (75 pages) (Figures)

Chapter Seven: The Logic of Exchange (79 pages)

Chapter Eight: The Nature of Markets (62 pages) (Figures)

Chapter Nine: The Meanings of Money (84 pages) (Figures)

Chapter Ten: Progress: Towards a Value Ethics (82 pages) (Figures)

Coda: The Value of Architecture (141 pages) (Figures)


In 2010 I returned to value theory in the context of sustainability and the economic slowdown. Could I summarize AGTV? Extend it? Put it to some use? The result was a paper in The Center for Sustainable Development Working Paper Series entitled"Better Is Better Than More: Complexity, Economic Progress, and Qualitative Growth", with Michael Oden.

Michael Benedikt 2013