Tag Archives: architecture

Why capitalism cannot afford to support the human sciences

Ever wondered why capitalism does not (in fact, cannot afford to) tolerate and support the human sciences – in other words, the humanities and social sciences? There is a reason for this. The short answer is that they cultivate critical thinking and practice, which capitalism, in its current attempt to consolidate its global power, naturally…

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The pleasure of mountains

We walk past the iconic bear at the entrance to the Seoroksan National Park near Sokcho, South Korea, towards the diverging forested paths beckoning lovers of mountains. Each one of these takes one to a specific trail where one can indulge your love of mountains in various ways. Some meander along the side of a…

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Crime, capital and economic apartheid

In the book Blank: Architecture, Apartheid and After (edited by H Judin and I Vladislavic; David Philip Publishers, Cape Town 1998), Lindsay Bremner’s contribution, “Crime and the emerging landscape of post-apartheid Johannesburg” (pp. 48-63) uncovered the roots of racial segregation in the origins of Johannesburg as a gold mining camp in 1886. During the apartheid…

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Florence, Siena and the ‘space of flows’

We are in Florence for a conference, in what is to my mind the most enchanting part of Italy, namely Tuscany. Because I have always been interested in art and architecture, and in principle we don’t take taxis, but walk everywhere we go, we have already seen the most beautiful buildings and urban landscapes, framed…

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The charm of Vienna cannot obliterate the abjection of SA

The conference that my partner and I are attending was supposed to be a welcome opportunity to visit the city of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert and Strauss, to mention only some of the greatest composers in the western musical canon. And then I haven’t even scratched the surface of Viennese artists and architects of various…

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Teaching and learning in the ‘network society’

Teaching at university in the early 21st century requires of lecturers that they take the “lifeworld” in which students live seriously. This lifeworld comprises what Manuel Castells (2010) calls the “Network Society” (see here) – a global society that has actualised an ever-expanding web or network of electronic means of information and communication. The fact…

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Spaces of power and spaces of gentleness

Today we experienced two kinds of space that are diametrically opposed, or mutually exclusive. The first was the palace and gardens of Versailles, known as the residence of a succession of French kings, of whom Louis XIV and Louis XVI are probably the best known (the latter with his equally well-known queen, Marie-Antoinette, who was…

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I love Paris in the springtime…

How many people still know that song, I wonder. Or the one where Dean Martin sings “Oh, what I’d give for a moment or two, under the bridges of Paris with you … ” The point is that Paris is, and has been for a long time, one of — if not THE — most…

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Beautiful, but expensive Basel

Basel is among the oldest cities of Europe, and architecturally speaking, among the most beautiful. Its founding antedates the beginning of the common era (CE), and its history from the Roman through the medieval to the modern period is as chequered as any city’s could be. It is a relatively small city, with just over…

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Resisting the dehumanising architecture of the ‘space of flows’

Against the background of my previous post on “The ‘space of flows and the social elites of today”, it is illuminating to take note of Manuel Castells’s (The Rise of the Network Society, 2010: Chapter 6, Section 6) interpretation of contemporary, “postmodern” architecture as an architecture that has been redefined by the space of flows…

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