Sovereign Architecture: The Enigma of Power in the Age of Globalization

By Faida Noori Salim Atto Salim.

Published by The Global Studies Journal

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

While both architecture and the built form are effective and powerful in their communicative qualities, iconic architecture plays a leading role in the way in which we form our cultural identity. It reflects the uniqueness and historical achievements of nations and also its own design assumptions and aesthetics which, for any culture, have been accumulated over a period of time, and represent the pride of nations. But in modern times, under the effect of modern western architecture, similarities in architectural abstraction of form are increasingly evident, despite the past objection to the negative impact of the international style. Such a trend is being marketed through the architecture of iconic buildings. The demand for iconic architecture today proves that modernity in general and the Industrial and French revolution, as the important hinges of modernity, did not alter the general trend of architecture in its history, which is the search for iconic buildings that prove the cultural and technological accomplishments of the nation. Charles Jencks comments that “the iconic building as a genre concerned mostly with its own iconicity is now the foremost category of architecture in the world.” Hence the important questions that should be asked in this age of globalization are: Why is it that iconic architecture is still considered to be a source of national pride? And what role does iconic architecture play in the emergence of the new global architecture and in what way?
When iconic architecture, becomes sovereign architecture, it presents itself as state of exception that plays an important role in changing the norms of the built form and asserting new rules. Furthermore, due to its initiation of subjective necessity, it helps to change the cultural identity of its setting. And because of the impact of globalization, information flow and new technology, it is leading the way towards a global agenda.

Keywords: Power, Iconic Architecture, Sovereignty, Globalization

Global Studies Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.95-108. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.166MB).

Dr. Faida Noori Salim Atto Salim

Assistant Professor, University of Baghdad and Doctoral Student, University of Auckland, Architecture, University of Baghdad, Iraq / University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

She graduated from the University of Baghdad in June 1975 and finished her Masters Degree in Architectural studies from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) / USA in May 1984. She taught in the three Departments of Architecture in Iraq at: 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 Atto has published several research works on the impact of globalization for many international conferences 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 effects .She has also supervised doctoral theses on the subject of architectural theory.

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