International Political Sociology 10, no. 1 (February 2016): 75 – 96.
The authors in this collective discussion engage, disaggregate and unpack the triangulation of security, technology and architecture, across a range of contemporary spaces/places. Reflecting diverse interdisciplinary commitments and perspectives, the collective discussion considers security, technology and architecture in urban environments and global/local interfaces, borders, borderlands and ports of entry, and even the sensorium, from soundscapes of the airport to teargas laden environments. From quotidian to high-tech, these interventions tease out the increasing ferocity of architecture and/in its relationship with technology and security.
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Based on six years of blogging for an international audience of millions, Jeroen Beekmans and Joop de Boer describe the birth of a new dimension in city-making based on ground-breaking ideas that take pop-up as a starting point, varying from modular hotels and parasite cinemas to urban hacking and foldable houses.
Amsterdam Social Science 6, no. 1 (May 2014): 87 – 101.
The built environment is not merely the collection of spaces and places utilised by end-users: it is a subject of critical inquiry and public discourse. In this paper, I analyse the public discourse of two recent and major architectural projects located in the United States that were designed by globally-renowned ‘starchitects’. The two cases for analysis are the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco designed by Herzog + de Meuron and the Seattle Central Library in Seattle designed by the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA). News and cultural media publications are utilised as sources of data to track the nature of said discourses. By analysing the nature of the public discourses regarding these structures through the lens of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, I develop micro-level insight into the broader nature of American cultural discourse and its ongoing transformation.
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Thesis project completed as part of the requirements of the Research Master's in Urban Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Submitted in August 2013.
More information can be found on my profile at Academia.edu.
Abstract: The city is a site of performance. It is not a typical site of performance, but it is one that is undergoing perpetual transformation, whether it is in terms of the demographics of the population, how individuals earn a living, where and how families acquire shelter, or within which spaces city dwellers interact in a social environment. These social issues, of great interest to researchers within the social scientific tradition, are what define the lives and livelihoods of all city dwellers. What I fear is under- discussed within this tradition, however, is the role that architecture, and specifically architectural design, plays in how city dwellers interpret their own urban environs. Within the pages of this thesis, I plan to explore and compare how architects and city dwellers interpret architecture, with the aid of the histories of urban planning frameworks, my own interpretations of particular pieces of architecture, and the incorporation of architectural photography. This boundary-jumping interdisciplinary research will attempt to demolish the artificial boundaries between architecture and urban social sciences by drawing upon theories and methods from social sciences, humanities, and the arts. It is hoped that this project provokes a new style of thinking about architecture and design within the social sciences.
This thesis will progress through eight chapters including this introductory chapter. Chapter Two will introduce the three primary theoretical concerns of this research: the relationship between architecture and the notion of aesthetics, the theories of how places are ‘made’ by the individual and collective pieces of the urban puzzle, and how semiotic theory and method can assist one in ‘reading’ the urban environment as a text. Chapter Three will address the practical methodological concerns for conducting this research, addressing epistemological and ontological issues, presenting the fundamental research questions, outlining the overall research design and its relevance, and a justification of the four selected case studies. Following these foundational chapters, there will be four chapters dedicated to the presentation of the four cases under study: Chapter Four analyses The Oakhill, a 58-storey residential tower in Hong Kong; Chapter Five looks at Park Lane Manor, a trio of 48-storey residential towers in Shenzhen; Chapter Six focuses on the W43 Tower, a 43-storey residential tower in Vancouver; and Chapter Seven takes interest in Aberdeen Condominiums, an 8-storey residential tower in Richmond. Each case study involves three stages of research: first, a presentation of the history of the urban planning infrastructure and its relationship with residential architectural trends of each era; second, a presentation of each case study building and how two separate sets of stakeholders conceive of the identity of their city and the architecture of the building in question; and, third, a semiotic reading of each building, aided by the inclusion of ten photographs of each site and its surrounding urban context. The concluding chapter, Chapter Eight, will present intra-regional and inter-regional case comparisons of urban planning frameworks, architectural design trends, and the specific buildings under study. The ultimate conclusion here is that the role of architectural design cannot and should not be undervalued within the realm of social scientific research, as these cases demonstrate loudly that the sociology, economy, and polity of cities occurs under the guise of buildings that are physically designed but metaphysically made through the process of interpretation by the population that sees as uses the artefacts of architectural design.