Should Architecture be political? A Debate



Capitalism infiltrated every aspect in contemporary society. In November 2013, on a night Storefront for Art and Architecture hosted and event related with the book launch of Architecture and Capitalism: 1845 to the Present, edited by Peggy Deamer. The event was described as a forum, and described as follows:

“On the occasion of the book launch of ‘Architecture and Capitalism’ edited by Peggy Deamer, Storefront presented a forum where some of the book contributors and other leading figures in the discourse around politics, economy, architecture and the city presented and discussed some historical and contemporary references on how alternatives have been articulated in the past and how we might be able to articulate them today.”

“Let me tell you a wonderful, old joke from Communist times. A guy was sent from East Germany to work in Siberia. He knew his mail would be read by censors, so he told his friends: “Let’s establish a code. If a letter you get from me is written in blue ink, it is true what I say. If it is written in red ink, it is false.” After a month, his friends get the first letter. Everything is in blue. It says, this letter: “Everything is wonderful here. Stores are full of good food. Movie theaters show good films from the west. Apartments are large and luxurious. The only thing you cannot buy is red ink.” This is how we live. We have all the freedoms we want. But what we are missing is red ink: the language to articulate our non-freedom. The way we are taught to speak about freedom— war on terror and so on—falsifies freedom. And this is what you are doing here. You are giving all of us red ink.   – Slavoj Žižek,  Sept 17, 2010, Liberty Square, New York”

Ross Wolfe  followed up the forum and wrote a review about the book, and followed by a debate between between himself  and Quilian Riano on their respective blogs about the topic of whether architecture should be political. Architecture debates took place from a physical space to a virtual platform.

Read more about the debate:




  • /Followed response by Ross Wolfe/
  • “Is all Architecture Truly Political?” A response to Quilian Riano by Ross Wolfe”




Should Architecture be political? A Debate

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