Special Issue "Architecture and Politics"

A special issue of Arts (ISSN 2076-0752). This special issue belongs to the section "Applied Arts".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (6 November 2020) | Viewed by 8480

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Hans Morgenthaler
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO 80204, USA
Interests: European modernism; theories of creativity and reception; architectural history; theory of architecture

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Politics has become increasingly virulent. Its actions are no longer just ideological, but threaten our personal safety and financial stability. The public space for discussion and deliberation continually diminishes. We feel alone—alienated from our fellow citizens.

Yet, we live, work, and play in an environment specifically designed to generate wellbeing, as well as social and psychological health. From the beginning of human history, architecture has always provided such respite for us.

Given the political and ecological violence that degrades the natural and built environment today, it is imperative that we study the effect such environments generate, and how this is achieved. How do buildings, neighborhoods, towns, and landscapes communicate their meanings?

This Issue of Arts intends to research this question by proposing some methods of decoding the manner through which political ideas, movements, and events might influence the forms and decoration of buildings. Traditional historical methodology endeavors to establish the factual circumstances of a commission, its philosophical and theoretical underpinnings, its physical materiality and construction, and its general contribution to the discipline of architectural design. For this edition, the questions have been narrowed to the political circumstances of a design and the meanings that have resulted from these conditions.

Prof. Dr. Hans Morgenthaler
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • architectural history
  • theory of architecture
  • building
  • landscape
  • urban planning
  • politics

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Spaces of Dependence and Emancipation in Architectural and Urban Narration, a Case Study: Plac Żołnierza Polskiego and Plac Solidarności in Szczecin
Arts 2021, 10(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10010019 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1229
Abstract
Central and Eastern European countries were subjugated to the Soviet Union in the second half of the 20th century. In this new political environment, defined as the period of dependency, the concept of space gained a new denotation as a space of dependence, [...] Read more.
Central and Eastern European countries were subjugated to the Soviet Union in the second half of the 20th century. In this new political environment, defined as the period of dependency, the concept of space gained a new denotation as a space of dependence, in both social and physical terms. The political changes that took place after 1989 enabled these spaces to be emancipated. In this work, we aim to delineate the complex relationship between architecture and politics from the perspective of spaces of dependence and their emancipation. Through a case study of two squares, plac Żołnierza Polskiego (the Square of the Polish Soldier) and plac Solidarności (Solidarity Square) in Szczecin, we gained insights into the processes and strategies that promoted their evolution into spaces of emancipation within architectural and urban narratives. Szczecin’s space of dependence was created by an authoritarian state that had a monopoly on defining architecture and urban planning in the country and the state as a whole. In a process orchestrated by economic factors, as well as the scale of architectural and urban degradation, the squares under discussion have transitioned from spaces of dependency to spaces of emancipation. As a result, an architectural-urban structure characterized by new cultural and identity values has been created. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Politics)
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Article
In a Time Loop: Politics and the Ideological Significance of Monuments to Those Who Perished on Saint Anne Mountain (1934–1955, Germany/Poland)
Arts 2021, 10(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10010017 - 01 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1034
Abstract
Polish Góra św. Anny (Saint Anne Mountain), previously German Annaberg, is one of the few places in the world where art was utilized to promote two regimes—fascist and communist. With the use of art, the refuge of pagan gods and then, Christian Saint [...] Read more.
Polish Góra św. Anny (Saint Anne Mountain), previously German Annaberg, is one of the few places in the world where art was utilized to promote two regimes—fascist and communist. With the use of art, the refuge of pagan gods and then, Christian Saint John’s Mountain with Saint Ann’s church and a calvary site were transformed into a mausoleum of the victims of uprisings and wars—those placed by politics on opposite sides of the barricade. The “sacred” character of the mountain was appropriated in the 1930s by the fascist Thingstätte under the form of an open-air theatre with a mausoleum, erected to commemorate fallen German soldiers in the Third Silesian Uprising. After the Second World War, the same place was “sacralized” by the Monument of the Insurgents’ Deed, which replaced the German object. The aim of both of them was to commemorate those who had perished in the same armed conflicts—uprisings from the years 1919–1921, when the Poles opposed German administration of Upper Silesia. According to the assumptions of both national socialism as well as communism, the commemorative significance of both monuments was subjected to ideological messages. Both monuments were supposed to constitute not only the most important element of the place where patriotic manifestations were intended to be held, but also a kind of counterbalance for the local pilgrims’ center dedicated to the cult of Saint Anne. The aim of the paper is to present the process of transforming a Nazi monument into its communist counterpart, at the same time explaining the significance of both monuments in the context of changing political reality. This paper has not been based on one exclusive research method—historical and field studies have been conducted, together with iconographical and iconological analyses of the monuments viewed from their comparative perspective. The text relies on archive materials—documents, press releases, and projects, including architectural drawings of the monument staffage—discovered by the authors and never published before. They would connect the structure not only to the surrounding landscape but, paradoxically, to the fascist Thingstätte. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Politics)
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Article
A Relic of Communism, an Architectural Nightmare or a Determinant of the City’s Brand? Media, Political and Architectural Dispute over the Monument to the Revolutionary Act in Rzeszów (Poland)
Arts 2021, 10(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10010008 - 26 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1410
Abstract
This article deals with the issues of architectural elements of public space, treated as components of art and visual communication, and at the same time determinants of the emotional aspects of political conflicts, social disputes, and media discourse. The aim of the considerations [...] Read more.
This article deals with the issues of architectural elements of public space, treated as components of art and visual communication, and at the same time determinants of the emotional aspects of political conflicts, social disputes, and media discourse. The aim of the considerations is to show, with the usage of the principles of critical analysis of media discourse, the impact of social events, political communication, and the activity of mass communicators on the perception of the monument of historical memory and the changes that take place within its public evaluation. The authors chose the method of critical analysis of the media discourse due to its compliance with the planned purpose of the analyses, thus, providing the opportunity to perform qualitative research, enabling the creation of possibly up-to-date conclusions regarding both the studied thread, and allowing the extrapolation of certain conclusions to other examples. The media material relating to the controversial Monument to the Revolutionary Act, located in the city of Rzeszów (Poland), was selected for the analysis. On this example, an attempt was made to evaluate the mutual relations between politically engaged architecture and art, and the contemporary consequences of this involvement in the social and political dimension. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Politics)
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Article
The Space for Preservation and Dilapidation of Historical Houses in Modlimowo Village in the Light of Post-Dependence Studies and Historical Politics after 1945
Arts 2021, 10(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts10010006 - 21 Jan 2021
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Abstract
The main purpose of this article is to present the results of the research on spatial degradation of Modlimowo village. Modlimowo is an example of a settlement form typical of the Western Pomerania region. Until 1945, half-timbered buildings of Modlimowo village constituted a [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this article is to present the results of the research on spatial degradation of Modlimowo village. Modlimowo is an example of a settlement form typical of the Western Pomerania region. Until 1945, half-timbered buildings of Modlimowo village constituted a well-preserved architectural and cultural heritage of this region. Over the past 25 years, changes in the spatial layout of Modlimowo Village irreversibly destroyed the architectural layout of the village, its cultural landscape, and affected its spatial character. The process involved the demolition of around 70% of its historical buildings. The residents, the descendants of post-war settlers, also acted in favor of the rapid degradation. This was typical in the Polish western lands, the area of so-called “Recovered Territories.” The historical memory encapsulated in the village’s spatial structure has been successfully decoded. Spatial degradation of the village of Modlimowo is an example that proves a certain regularity. The processes and mechanisms that govern the devastation taking place in Polish villages of the region of the “Recovered Territories” are subject to extensive analysis in terms of social, economic, cultural, historical, and architectural aspects. There is an ongoing discussion about the reasons for this situation. The political reality of post-war Poland and the persistent traumas of that period have had a significant impact on the actual situation of the Polish countryside. The described research may offer a contribution to the ongoing discussion regarding post-dependence, as it extends the research field typical of architecture to include aspects of the importance of collective memory as well as historical politics. The theoretical model of the conducted research was based on the grounded theory. The author chose this form due to the specific flexibility it offers. An important aspect analyzed in the research was the ability to adapt to the existing conditions. Supplementing the collected data with historical and ethnographic materials proved to be very helpful. The open interview method enabled the collection of the required, standardized data. The conducted research allows to conclude that the language of the historical architectural forms typical for the region was not understood by its new inhabitants. Therefore, newcomers felt free to thoughtlessly demolish whatever previous occupants had left. The analysis of the political context, the trauma of the post-war regime, and post-memory mechanisms can help to diagnose the reality of those times. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Politics)
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Article
The House that Lars Built. The Architecture of Transgression
Arts 2020, 9(4), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040127 - 08 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1704
Abstract
This article discusses the motif of the “architecture of transgression”, which is present most implicitly, in Lars von Trier’s The House that Jack Built. The analysis concerns both the construction of cinematic narrative itself and the subtle allusions, inserted in the script, [...] Read more.
This article discusses the motif of the “architecture of transgression”, which is present most implicitly, in Lars von Trier’s The House that Jack Built. The analysis concerns both the construction of cinematic narrative itself and the subtle allusions, inserted in the script, to two architectural metaphors: the Nietzschean (and Jungian) labyrinth and the Heideggerian die Hütte. Von Trier’s film may be read as an oeuvre immersed in literary tradition—from Dante’s Divine Comedy to the modern Bildungsroman—as well as inspired by modern philosophy, particularly George Bataille’s philosophy of transgression, (as expound in his Erotism and his short 1929 essay on Architecture). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Politics)
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Article
The Influence of Political Factors on the Architecture of Ducal Castles Owned by the Griffin Dynasty
Arts 2020, 9(4), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/arts9040124 - 01 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1310
Abstract
The subject of the article is an analysis of the ideological and political factors that influenced the architectural transformation of ducal residences which belonged to the Griffin dynasty during the Prussian-German and later Polish rule. The article verifies the scale of this impact [...] Read more.
The subject of the article is an analysis of the ideological and political factors that influenced the architectural transformation of ducal residences which belonged to the Griffin dynasty during the Prussian-German and later Polish rule. The article verifies the scale of this impact and the formal effects of actions taken in the context of the entire Pomeranian Duchy. The research is based on a selected set of ducal castles from the Pomeranian region and uses analytical and comparative methods. In the course of the research, it was possible to confirm the influence of political and ideological factors on the status of the preserved heritage of the Pomeranian Dukes, both on the part of the Prussian-German and Polish authorities. In both cases, these actions were caused by the desire to take over symbolic control over the space after territorial changes. These actions were aimed either at eliminating elements foreign to a given nation and state from the cultural landscape of Pomerania or at their transformation and familiarization. In the process of transforming ducal castles, utility factors also played a significant role in the Prussian-German period, while after 1945 the important factor was the then conservation doctrine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architecture and Politics)
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