The Binding Power of Architecture

By Faida Noori Salim Atto Salim.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In all its history, architecture has always been linked to power, Ralph Waldo Emerson said;
“The most striking monuments of the past, from, the pyramids to capitol, were shaped by architects
who were close to concentrations of great power and who were trusted with the great commissions.”
We claim that architecture is still being devised (intentionally or unintentionally) as one of the capillaries
of the modern democratic governments to transmit its power to society, but the question is, in
what way? Mainly architecture wields its power through emphasizing individualization and at the
same time extending its power over individuals by promoting the identical themes and mass culture
that reject the past, which is shared in their own collective memory, and hence exercises totalization.
Henri Lefebvre writes, “[R]epressive space wreaks repression and terror even though it may be strewn
with ostensible signs of the contrary (of contentment, amusement or delight).” In this paper we will
examine how and in what way individuals are affected by the emission and transmission of power
through architecture, and we will analyze modern architectural themes by a quick comparison to the
pre-modern era, and in reference to the two most important themes of modernity: freedom and individuality.

Keywords: Power, Architecture, Individualization, Totalization, Foucault

Global Studies Journal, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp.75-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 651.570KB).

Dr. Faida Noori Salim Atto Salim

Assistant Professor-University of Baghdad/ Doctoral Student-University of Auckland, Architecture, University of Baghdad, Auckland, Iraq

She graduated from the University of Baghdad in June 1975 and finished her masters Degree from MIT( Massachusetts Institute of Technology)/USA in May 1984. She taught in the three Departments of Architecture in Iraq: The University of Baghdad, The University of Mosul and The University of Technology. Her research works used to focus mainly on urban design and housing but she has also taught theory of architecture for over 20 years and her doctoral studies at the University of Auckland are concerned with the impact of Globalization on architecture and architectural ethics. Faida Salim has already published several research works on the subject. The most interesting results of these studies, which are currently being completed, are concerned with the role of power as it pertains to the topic of globalization and its effect. She has also supervised doctoral theses on the subject in architectural theory.

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